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

Hungarian elections unaffected by hysterical EU warnings

Dr Helen Szamuely

The first round of Hungarian elections on April 7 caused no particular surprises and belied the hysterical warnings voiced by the European Union and some of Hungary’s neighbours. On a 75 per cent turn-out (higher than in a number of West European countries, including the United Kingdom in the last general election) the Hungarians voted almost equally for the two main contenders. The incumbent Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán’s right of centre party FIDÉSZ came second with 40.3 per cent of the vote, while the Socialists had a marginal lead with 41.2 per cent. The second round will take place on April 21.

So far, no government in the post-Communist Central European states has managed to last beyond one term. Some people might describe it as a true state of democracy but the EU shows itself to be dissatisfied whenever a right of centre party is elected or comes close to being elected. In the case of Hungary, all sorts of warnings were issued about FIDÉSZ, a party that even its worst enemies cannot accuse of being extremist. The much feared alliance with the extreme right wing Life and Justice Party did not materialize as all those who know the country insisted it would not. Furthermore, Life and Justice, again as predicted by those who know rather than those who like to get worried about nebulous right-wing dangers, did not get the necessary 5 per cent of the vote and will not have any parliamentary deputies.

Viktor Orbán was himself accused by some EU official and commentators of being ultra-nationalist. His platform did refer to national pride and family values, neither of which are unusual political ideas. National pride is of some importance in countries that remained under foreign rule for fifty-five years after the end of the Second World War and the liberation of the West European countries. Other criticisms show the EU’s propensity for interfering in the affairs of supposedly independent countries. Orbán apparently annoyed some of the fonctionnaires by cutting taxes and by-passing trade unions in some of the privatization negotiations. He further annoyed some of Hungary’s neighbours and, yet again, the eurocrats by passing a Status Law, which gave Hungarians in neighbouring countries certain privileges, such as seasonal work permits. But even the EU ought to have been pleased with the Hungarian government’s decision to reject the US offer to lease decommissioned F-16s, updated by Lockheed Martin in favour of a deal with Sweden’s Gripen. The latter included a supply of spare parts and was, according to Hungarian sources, a much better deal. The same sources stated that the Americans had expected the Hungarians to accept whatever they were offered. As the West, especially the EU, is learning the former Communist states are beginning to flex their muscles. They do not want to be trampled over as they were in the past.

The next round of elections will choose the Prime Minister who will lead the country through the last negotiations of the EU enlargement process. Hungary will also hold its own referendum. At present the notion of EU membership is reasonably popular though opinion is shifting, as it is in the other candidate countries. If the EU keeps interfering and instructing the people of Hungary how and for whom they should vote, it may get a surprise during the forthcoming referendum.