EEA/Norwegian NGO Fund: we keep on working!

It will be exactly one year tomorrow, on September 8, since the police has illegally raided the offices of Ökotárs, its partners and the homes of its staff members thus bringing the dastardly crusade against NGOs to the maximum. Despite the indignifying series of attacks, Ökotárs and its partners have kept and keep on doing their jobs, including the operation of the EEA/Norwegian NGO Fund.

Almost the full grant budget of the NGO Fund has been distributed in the first quarter of this year when the applications submitted for the last call of the NGO Fund were successfully evaluated and contracted. Altogether about 400 projects have started (or continued) across the country. The majority of the grantees work to develop democracy, to protect human and women’s rights and equality, to strengthen and help underprivileged groups and to save the natural values of Hungary.

In our estimate, the investigation against perpetrators unknown has been extended at least four times since last year, to no avail: no suspicion or any adverse decision was made against Ökotárs, its partners or the supported organizations.

In contrast, the court declared already in January that the police raid on September 8, 2014 was illegal as suspicion of offense has not been established. Meanwhile it turned out that the “report” of GCO (Government Control Office) was based on the violation of the law as well, being created with the use of illegally acquired documents and data. Regarding our tax numbers suspended by the Tax Authority we are waiting for the decision of the Constitutional Court due later in the autumn. They will have to decide if the lack of substantive legal remedies against a GCO decision conflicts the Basic Law or not (the Administrative and Labour Court of Eger decided to turn to the Constitutional Court of Hungary in the case). The operator foundations have also sued the GCO for damages caused in administrative power - the court has already set the first trial of Carpathian Foundation for October.

Ökotárs and its partners (Autonomia, DemNet, and Carpathian Foundations) have been key actors of Hungarian civil society for more than two decades.