Between Brussels and Russia

2014. július 21. 10:43

The Economist
The Economist
In Hungary, as in Britain, Brussels-bashing wins votes.

"VIKTOR ORBAN is not used to losing. His right-wing Fidesz party won a two-thirds majority in April’s election, repeating its 2010 triumph. Yet alone (except for Britain’s David Cameron), he refused to back Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission. Hungary voted against Mr Juncker to send a “powerful signal” against “surreptitious” changes of the European Union treaty, Mr Orban said last month. On July 15th Mr Juncker was elected by the European Parliament anyway. Yet Mr Orban’s domestic position may have been strengthened.

In Hungary, as in Britain, Brussels-bashing wins votes. Mr Orban has been at verbal war with the EU since 2010. In March 2012 he told cheering supporters that Hungary would never be a “colony”. He compared EU officials to Soviet officers. “We are more than familiar with the character of unsolicited comradely assistance, even if it comes wearing a finely tailored suit and not a uniform with shoulder patches.”

Mr Orban’s diplomatic isolation is not proof of his being wrong, say his supporters. Rising hostility to the EU was reflected in the European elections, when support leapt for Eurosceptic parties. Braver leaders would have followed their voters. Hungary’s opposition to Mr Juncker was not personal but procedural, said Zoltan Kovacs, a government spokesman. “We are opposed to a federal United States of Europe. We believe in co-operation between sovereign nation states.”"

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