Boris Johnson meets Hungary PM Viktor Orban in March
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Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban won his country’s election on Sunday as the EU prepares for more clashes with the perceived autocratic. Orban appeared to gloat at the expense of the EU, saying: “We have won a victory so great that it can be seen from the moon, but certainly from Brussels. “Christian Democratic national politics has won, and we should tell Brussels that this is not the past, but the future.” Orban and European leaders have come to blows over a number of issues in recent years.
Hungary is an EU member state, but the country’s government has consistently implemented anti-democratic and discriminatory policies in opposition to Brussels’ calls for equality in the country.
This, combined with Orban’s repeated anti-EU rhetoric, has left Hungarian opposition figures concerned that the country could leave the bloc.
Left-Green politician Timea Szabo of the Dialogue for Hungary party told DW in August 2021: “Orban’s campaign for the exit of our home country out of the EU has begun.
“From now on, those who vote for Orban vote for the end of our EU membership.”
The comments from Ms Szabo came in response to an editorial in the Magyar Nemzet newspaper, an unofficial government outlet which regularly backs Orban’s worldview.
It read: “It is time to talk about Huxit.
“The time has come, now in July 2021, to seriously consider the possibility of our withdrawal from a union of states with a thousand bleeding wounds, showing imperial symptoms, and treating the eastern and central European countries incredibly arrogantly.”
“Our paths have diverged as the West now consciously […] breaks from Christian morality and values.
“Instead, they aim to build a cosmopolitan, faceless world society based on the unbridled self-enjoyment and self-destruction of the individual.
“[By contrast,] we Hungarians, Poles and central and eastern European people hold on to our cultural and religious foundations.”
After the UK voted for Brexit in 2016, Orban also made another dig at Brussels, saying that there was “of course a life outside the EU.”
Budapest-based political scientist Peter Kreko told DW that an exit from the EU was not yet in Orban’s interest.
But, he added: “He is, however, interested in turning public opinion against the EU in order to potentially blackmail Brussels with the threat of a possible Huxit.
“In this regard, his aim is to aggravate hostility towards the EU in Hungary.”
Another concern for European leaders is Orban’s approach to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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In his victory speech on Sunday, Orban criticised Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, referring to him and Brussels bureaucrats as the “opponents” he had to defeat during campaigning.
Russian President Vladimir Putin even congratulated Orban, expressing confidence that the two countries could develop further ties “despite the difficult international situation.”
The European Commission appears to be planning measures to penalise Hungary for its refusal to abide by the bloc’s rule of law standards.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the outfit will soon trigger a powerful new mechanism to cut funding to Hungary.
She said: “We’ve carefully assessed the result of these questions.
“Our conclusion is we have to move on [to] the next step.”
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