The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

If you not change browser settings, you agree to it. Learn more

I understand

Cookies are a technology which we use to provide you with tailored information on our website. A cookie is a piece of code that is sent to your internet browser and is stored on your system.

Please see below for a list of cookies this website uses:

Cookie name: _utma, _utmb, _utmc, _utmz

Purpose: Google Analytics cookies. Google Analytics is software that lets us analyse how visitors use our site. We use this information to improve our website and provide the best experience to visitors.

Function: These cookies collect data in an anonymous form. Please see Google's privacy policy for further information. To opt out of these cookies, please visit Google's website.

Cookie name: Sitecore

Purpose: Stores information, such as language and regional preferences, that our content management system (the system we use to update our website) relies on to function.

Function: This is a session cookie and will be destroyed when you close your browser. This cookie is essential for our website to function.

Cookie name: ASP.net_session

Purpose: Allows the website to save your session state across different pages. For example, if you have completed a survey, the website will remember that you have done so and will not ask you to complete it again when you view another page on the website.

Function: This is a session cookie and will be destroyed when you close your browser. This cookie is essential for our website to function.

Cookie name: website#sc_wede

Purpose: Indicates whether the user's browser supports inline editing of content. This indicates whether our content management system will work for our website administrators in their internet browsers.

Function: This is a session cookie and will be destroyed when you close your browser. This cookie is essential for our website to function.

Cookie name: redirected

Purpose: Remembers when the site forwards you from one page to another, so you can return to the first page. For example, go back to the home page after viewing a special 'splash' page.

Function: This is a session cookie, which your browser will destroy when it shuts down. The website needs this cookie to function.

Cookie name: tccookiesprefs

Purpose: Remembers when you respond to the site cookie policy, so you do not see the cookie preferences notice on every page.

Function: If you choose to remember your preference with a temporary cookie, your browser will remove it when you shut it down, otherwise the cookie will be stored for about a year.

Cookie name: _ga

Purpose: Additional Google Analytics cookie. Google Analytics is software that lets us analyse how visitors use our site. We use this information to improve our website and provide the best experience to visitors.

Function: These cookies collect data in an anonymous form. Please see Google's privacy policy for further information.

Cookie name: SC_ANALYTICS_GLOBAL_COOKIE, SC_ANALYTICS_SESSION_COOKIE

Purpose: Sitecore Analytics is software that lets us analyse how visitors use our site. We use this information to improve our website and provide the best experience to visitors.

Function: These cookies collect data in an anonymous form. When you close your browser, it will delete the 'session' cookie; it will keep the 'global' cookie for about one year.

Facebook cookies

We use Facebook 'Like' buttons to share site feedback. For further information, see Facebook's cookie policy page.

Twitter cookies

We use Twitter 'Tweet' buttons to share site feedback. For further information, see Twitter's privacy statement.

YouTube cookies

We embed videos from our official YouTube channel. YouTube uses cookies to help maintain the integrity of video statistics, prevent fraud and to improve their site experience. If you view a video, YouTube may set cookies on your computer once you click on the video player.

Cookies pop-up

When you close the cookies pop-up box by clicking "OK", a permanent cookie will be set on your machine. This will remember your preference so that the pop-up doesn't display across any pages whenever you visit the website.

Opting out/removing cookies

To opt out of Google Analytics cookies, please visit Google’s website.

You can also control what cookies you accept through your internet browser. For details on how to do this, please visit aboutcookies.org. Please note that by deleting our cookies or disabling future cookies you may not be able to access certain areas or features of our website.

mailing list
donate now
join now
shop

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Viktor Orbán, Fidesz, and the EU

The recent Hungarian elections on 8 April found incumbent Viktor Orban of the Fidesz party in office for a third consecutive term. He has served as Prime Minister since 2010, as well as from 1998 to 2002. Fidesz is a nationalist party, and Orban's relationship with Brussels and the European Union is historically strained, as many of his policies are seen as breaking with the typical EU mould.

The BBC reported that with 93 percent of ballots counted and a near-record 69 percent voter turnout, Fidesz had won almost half of the vote. Behind Fidesz is the nationalist Jobbik party, with 20 percent of the vote, then the Socialists with 12 percent, and the LMP, which is Hungary's main Green Party, in fourth with seven percent. Fidesz also has likely gained a two-thirds super-majority of more than 133 seats in the 199 seat Parliament, sending a resounding message of confidence to Viktor Orbán and Fidesz.

This was a vote of confidence in Orbán's campaign promises, many of which, unsurprisingly, centered around the issue of immigration. While not anti-EU (as Hungary has benefitted greatly from EU funding), Fidesz has a history of tension with the EU and a vision of a more conservative Union. Hungary, for example, is a member of the Visegrad Group, a four-state bloc with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland. The V4, as it is often called, revolted against the issue of "the European compulsory allotment of refugees for resettlement throughout the Schengen Agreement," and maintain armed forces to protect their borders. Among his campaign promises were plans to "defend the country's borders and block migration by Muslims," reported the BBC. The issue of immigration has been hot-button since the European immigration crisis and redistribution plan, with Orbán and the V4 remaining staunchly opposed to and wary of the plan and unchecked immigration.

Yet in other areas, Hungary is in cooperation with the EU. In November 2017, in fact, the Hungarian government signed up to PESCO, which is the Permanent Structured Cooperation for the protection of the EU. It offers members a common defence strategy, and Hungarian political commentator Benedek Kalmár noted that the government, "by signing the cooperation, appears confident that this military organisation will prevent illegal migration and will be effective in the fight against terrorism." It is unclear that this structure will be able to prevent terrorist attacks on individual states, but the decision on the part of the Hungarian government to sign up to PESCO is, nonetheless, a vote of confidence in the EU in one area. The Hungarian relationship with the EU, then, is not strictly tensioned, nor is the government strictly anti-EU.

The conservative mentality of Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian electorate, and the Visegrad Group, though, reflects and perhaps was influenced by Britain's vote to leave the European Union in 2016, as part of a wider conservative movement within the EU. The Brexit vote and the overwhelming vote of confidence of Orbán and the Fidesz agenda represents a rejection of the policies and ideology from the centralised EU structure in Brussels. States want to maintain independence within the bloc, as exemplified by the anti-immigration Hungarian mentality combined with their involvement in PESCO. A 2013 Bruges Group analysis summed up this attitude in pointing out that "Hungary's finance minister has described Brussels' 'imperial centralization' as counter-productive to Hungary's independent interests." While not conceptually averse to the EU, the government is opposed to the notion of an "ever-close European Union."

The Hungarian election was not ambiguously won. Orbán was re-elected into office with a parliamentary super majority and a near record turnout. EU leadership would do well to recognize this election for what it was: a representation of a growing desire for a less centralised European Union. It is not an isolated expression, and leadership should adjust, rather than attempt to quiet those voices.

Don't Do It! Any form of Defence union is a very b...
Splits, Splits and a Damned Position
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Thursday, 19 April 2018