George Sorors’ Open Society Foundations, which are now controlled by his son Alexander, will cease most of its operations in the European Union.
The move, which comes after foundation-funded NGOs ferried migrants to Europe for over a decade (mission accomplished?), comes after the $25 billion family foundation announced a headcount reduction of at least 40% following Alexander’s ascent.
Citing a “radical shift of strategic direction,” OSF says that their new operating model will require “significant further restructuring,” and “closing all regional and global programs,” according to a letter sent to grantees in Hungary which was seen by Bloomberg.
“Ultimately, the new approved strategic direction provides for withdrawal and termination of large parts of our current work within the European Union, shifting our focus and allocation of resources to other parts of the world,” reads the message, which cites another note sent to staff at OSF’s Berlin headquarters.
“OSF will largely terminate funding within the European Union, and further funding will be extremely limited,” it reads, without elaborating, except to say that the organization is pivoting because “EU institutions and governments were already allocating significant resources to human rights, freedom and pluralism” inside the bloc.
And of course, Bloomberg sings OSF’s praises:
In the EU, OSF financed a wide range of philanthropic programs in the bloc’s eastern former communist members, including Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and elsewhere. They included initiatives aimed at strengthening democracy, promoting human rights and alleviating the poverty and discrimination faced by the Roma minority.
It also funds projects in non-EU European countries such as in the Balkans and further afield in central Asia.
The organization based its European headquarters in Budapest until 2018, when it moved to Berlin following a years-long campaign against Soros and the OSF’s liberal values by nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government in Hungary. It also has offices in Barcelona, Brussels and Belgium. -Bloomberg
Over the past three decades, OSF has spent over $19 billion on various projects, including $209 million in 2021 towards projects in Europe and the central Asia region.