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Government to look at financing NGOs

The prime minister is calling for more detailed information about funds for non-governmental organisations,who do not understand his intentions.

Robert Fico (Source: TASR)

Slovakia will probably have to look at the funding and background of non-governmental organisations, said Prime Minister Robert Fico after the April 29 summit in Brussels.

“I even think that everywhere these NGOs are active, they will have to disclose information about the country they receive money from, who stands behind them in order for us to know who is who, because otherwise we will find out that various street meetings are organised here and behind them are NGOs from abroad,” Fico said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

He statements are in connection with the law on financing NGOs in Hungary, which is threatening the existence of the Central European University in Budapest. According to the new rules, some NGOs would have to be labelled as foreign agents. A similar law has been adopted in Russia, SITA wrote.

“This is the reason why the situation in Hungary will probably be the topic that would have impact also on other EU countries and we will have to deal with the issue of the transparent operation of NGOs,” Fico said, as quoted by SITA, adding he does not want to comment on the internal affairs of Hungary or any other Visegrad Group country.

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The NGOs active in Slovakia, with which Fico discussed the anti-corruption measures in March, do not understand Fico’s statements.

“If we don’t take the events linked to May 1 celebrations or cultural events into account, I don’t know about any organisation that would organise meetings on the streets,” Peter Kunder of ethics watchdog Fair-Play Alliance told the Denník N daily.

He added he has not noticed any street meetings that would be illegal or that would promote some illegal goals.

Fair-Play Alliance, for example, regularly publishes information about its financing, which is even more detailed than that of political parties.

“Our financing is a mixture of grants and contributions from Slovak and international foundations, institutions, companies and hundreds of individuals,” Kunder told Denník N, stressing that their supporters do not tell them what to do.

Politicians casting doubt on civil rights movements only helps extremists spread their ideology, Kunder opines.

Pavel Sibyla of Stop Corruption Foundation also does not understand Fico’s intentions.

“The NGOs already state in their annual reports from which sources they receive finances,” Sibyla told Denník N.

He said he is not afraid of the statements, but rather the inactivity of the government in fighting corruption, in education reform or in the integration of Roma.

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