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Poland Targets Soros-Backed, Other Foreign-Funded NGOs

The ruling Polish Law and Justice (PiS) party is considering creating legislation that would require NGOs to disclose foreign funding in a move intended to provide transparency on potential foreign influence in politics.

The intention was announced by the environment minister, Michal Wos, who stated that “I set up such a team in the ministry, such a working group, to disclose the financing of NGOs, not just ecological ones,” because “Poles have a right to know whether they are indeed organizations that work in the interests of Poles…”

PiS has already taken steps in the past to curb the potentially subversive impacts of liberal and progressive NGOs, many of which receive foreign funding, including from familiar faces like George Soros. In 2017, a new law created the National Freedom Institute – Center for the Development of Civil Society, an institution through which funding for NGOs is funneled, to the tune of 100 million zloty a year.

The right-wing nationalist-populist government is particularly unfavorable toward groups that promote immigration, refugees, LGBT causes, and feminism, which undermine Poland’s strongly traditional Christian and nationalistic society. PiS’ time in power has seen both funding and influence dry up significantly for such groups.

Media commentary has highlighted criticisms such as those from Ewa Kulik-Bielinska, director of the Soros-founded and -funded Stefan Batory foundation, who griped that the move would likely see NGO funds redistributed to civic organizations more favorable to the state, such as patriotic and Catholic ones.

Kulik-Bielinska has also opined on the possibility of the new law obligating NGOs to disclose foreign funding, protesting “an attack on social organizations that defend human rights and check on authorities,” and calling it “the Hungarian model.”

Hungary, which has attracted the frequent ire of the EU for it successful nationalist policies, in 2018 passed a series of bills called the “Stop Soros” laws, which banned aiding illegal immigrants and threatened those who do with imprisonment, including members of NGOs. As a result, Soros’ Open Society Foundation left Hungary for Germany, and many other NGOs were reported to fear repercussions.

The valiant examples of Hungary and Poland show that effective resistance to subversive globalism is very possible, provided a muscular and patriotic government takes care to steadily construct a robust civic society and political institutions that genuinely work in the interest of the people. Other countries would do well to be inspired and follow suit.

Written by Kris Malysz

Kris Malysz is a contributor to The Schpiel.

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