Civil Cooperation Forum (CÖF)

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Civil Cooperation Forum leader László Csizmadia.

The Civil Cooperation Forum (Civil Összefogás Fórum, or CÖF) is a nominally non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides political support to the Orbán government. CÖF formed in 2009, one year before Viktor Orbán’s return to power as prime minister in 2010.

CÖF has been one of the main organizers of the five pro-government Peace March Demonstrations that have taken place in Budapest since 2012 and also promotes the political interests of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán via the publication of pro-government communiqués on the organization’s website and erection of pro-government signage in Budapest (see Making Politics of Migration: The Civil Cooperation Forum Signs and A Thousand Clowns).

Lawyer László Csizmadia and political scientist Tamás Fricz serve as the main leaders of CÖF in their capacity of organizational spokesmen. Csizmadia also serves as president of the council of the National Cooperative Fund (Nemzeti Együttmükődési Alap), a government organization that distributes government funding to NGOs in Hungary in order to “promote national cohesion and public welfare” (source in Hungarian).

CÖF claims to finance the organization’s operations exclusively through private donations. However, opposition groups and websites claim that CÖF is actually a government-organized non-government organization (GONGO) that receives its funding indirectly from the Orbán government (source in Hungarian).

CÖF, for example, has received tens of millions of forints in funding from the Fidesz-operated For a Civil Hungary Fund (Polgári Magyarországért Alap) since 2012 (source A and B in Hungarian).

Last updated: May 28, 2016.