Europe

Europe's top human rights body debates new Hungarian laws

  • EU commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, welcomes George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundation, prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Soros was in Brussels to discuss the situation in Hungary, including legislative measures that could force the closure of the Central European University in Budapest. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)

    EU commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, welcomes George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundation, prior to a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Soros was in Brussels to discuss the situation in Hungary, including legislative measures that could force the closure of the Central European University in Budapest. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundation, waits for the start of a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Soros was in Brussels to discuss the situation in Hungary, including legislative measures that could force the closure of the Central European University in Budapest. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)

    George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundation, waits for the start of a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Soros was in Brussels to discuss the situation in Hungary, including legislative measures that could force the closure of the Central European University in Budapest. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundation, waits for the start of a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Soros was in Brussels to discuss the situation in Hungary, including legislative measures that could force the closure of the Central European University in Budapest. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)

    George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundation, waits for the start of a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Soros was in Brussels to discuss the situation in Hungary, including legislative measures that could force the closure of the Central European University in Budapest. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The Council of Europe, the continent's top human rights organization, is debating new Hungarian laws which critics say seek to limit academic rights and intimidate civic groups.

Recent amendments to the law on higher education could force Central European University, founded by billionaire George Soros, to close or leave Budapest.

Also, draft legislation being considered in Hungary would force civic groups to declare foreign funding exceeding $25,000 a year or face fines or closure.

Mogens Jensen, a Danish lawmaker who prepared the report on Hungary being debated Thursday in Strasbourg, France, says Hungary should suspend applying the university law and wait to approve the law on civic groups until experts from the council's advisory Venice Commission has a chance to assess the legislation's compatibility with the council's standards.