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George Soros' foundation plans to limit funding to Europe

George Soros
George Soros Copyright Ferdinand Ostrop/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Ferdinand Ostrop/Copyright 2017 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with agencies
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The charity founded by billionaire financier George Soros is shifting its focus away from Europe to other parts of the world.

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Open Society Foundations, the charity founded by Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, is pivoting its focus away from European matters.

It says it plans to withdraw or terminate large parts of its work within the European Union, shifting its focus to other parts of the world.

The organisation supports people fighting for freedom of expression, accountable government, and societies that promote justice and equality.

But for some in Hungary, the decision makes no sense.

“For me, the argument is a bit contradictory,“ said Peter Hanzli, spokesperson for the Hungarian LGBT Alliance.

“They refer to the actions of the governments. Well, the Hungarian government doesn't do much for LGBTQ people, it's actually against them. But regarding democracy itself, not only in Hungary but also in other EU member states, well it's not in the best shape.”

It is not yet clear how or where the foundation’s funds will be reallocated, but it will continue to support some civil society programmes in Europe, including with Roma communities.

A spokesman for Open Society Foundations said: "We will continue to fund civil society groups across Europe, including those working on EU external affairs and will maintain our historic support for European Roma communities. 

"We will also continue to be a funder of human rights, democracy, and accountable government across the region, most notably in Ukraine, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, and the Western Balkans through the work of our national foundations."

In June, it was announced that 93-year-old Soros would hand over the running of the foundation to his son, Alex, who took over the chair in December last year.

 In July the foundation unveiled plans to lay off 40% of its staff worldwide.

Update 16 August 2023: Clarifying when Alex Soros took over as chair of the Open Society Foundations.

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