POLAND: Lex Woś adds pressure on NGOs already strained by the humanitarian situation

On 30 March 2022, Solidarna Polska MPs presented a new version of the bill discussed in 2020 on the transparency of financing of non-governmental organisation.

For many years, NGOs in Poland have been struggling to access governmental funding and had to rely on foreign funding sources or raise revenue through crowdfunding. Additionally, NGOs capacities have been stretched in the last weeks with the ongoing war on Ukraine which has seen a flow of refugees going though Poland which require the intervention of NGOs.

This bill increases the obligations that weigh on NGOs as it would require from NGOs to disclose publicly the names of all their donors. Additionally, organisations would have to disclose foreign funding received to the public registry but also on their websites social medial and on all audio-visual materials.

Specifically, it requires from NGOs or public benefit organisations with a statutory income above PLN 250,000 annually to present information on the sources of funding to the National Court Register within three months of the end of the financial year. If foreign funding is received by organisations, then additional information on the funding entity must be displayed permanently on organisations’ websites. This reporting obligation seems to be an ongoing process that will have to be assumed by organisations and not a once-a-year notification. Moreover, organisations with revenues exceeding PLN 1 million will also be obliged to keep and publicise the contributions received on their website.

Therefore, the timing of the proposal and the nature of the obligations considering the reality of the Polish NGO sector is clearly an attack on these organisations that need help today more than ever.