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Tag: Hungary

In the footsteps of Viktor Orbán’s invincibility

Viktor Orbán’s thoughts about the Hungarian people almost always appear in his speeches. If you search for the term "Hungarian people" on Orbán’s personal site, a peculiar universe unfolds in front of your eyes. Certainly, his target is not the liberal Budapest intelligentsia, but rather ordinary Hungarians, a group that Orbán knows best – and grants him victory.

Whatever the expression means, Hungary has degraded into a “partly-free” democracy in recent years according to Freedom House. We are now both geographically and politically halfway between Germany and Belarus. Our democratic institutions still stand but they are like houses whose only renovation has been the façade – they look nice from the street but if one enters, destruction is obvious. This is because the caretaker was not appointed as the result of the residents’ trust but that of the local real estate tycoon. According to the 2022 World Press Freedom Index, Hungary’s media ranks 85th, behind Guinea and ahead of Israel. It was 23rd in 2010. No other country has slid down about five places on an annual basis.

July 14, 2022 - Szabolcs Vörös

Russia’s war in Ukraine: has oscillating Orbán run out of steam?

Eager to attract investment from Russia and China and prove his independence, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has pursued a foreign policy independent from Brussels. Unwilling to give up EU membership or his opposition to EU principles, he has aspired to reframe the idea of Europe into one of sovereign Christian nations. The war in Ukraine, however, may be about to put an end to his strategy.

April 1, 2022 - Victoria Harms

Hungarian parliamentary elections in the shadow of disinformation

The Hungarian parliamentary elections are in just a few days, and political polarisation amongst the two competing camps is at an all time high. Disinformation offensives – well known before the campaign as well – are intensifying across the country.

March 31, 2022 - Zea Szebeni

Reversing Orbán’s strategic mistakes and the ongoing marginalisation of Hungary

A conversation with Ferenc Laczó, assistant professor of history at Maastricht University. Interviewer: Claus Leggewie.

March 9, 2022 - Claus Leggewie Ferenc Laczó

Hungarian government embraces Russian cooperation in spite of possible war in Ukraine

In light of growing uncertainties over Ukraine, many Central and Eastern European states are now asking for further military and political support from their western allies. Despite this, Viktor Orbán recently visited Moscow to express his “respect” for Vladimir Putin and discuss cooperation in the energy and health care sectors.

February 9, 2022 - Soso Chachanidze

The EU and the great powers: a stakeholder view from Visegrád

Whilst governments often claim to speak for their countries, the elites that constitute the majority of states’ political systems may take a more balanced approach. This is clear in the Visegrad states, where a recent survey has revealed many nuances regarding foreign policy.

January 4, 2022 - Pavlína Janebová Zsuzsanna Végh

The Central and Eastern European natural gas market 2013-19: trends and implications

Over the last decade, the natural gas market in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has changed dramatically. Today, we are seeing more cross-border pipeline routes that are bi-directional and the possibility of greater liquified natural gas (LNG) imports. These changes will bring increased economic opportunities for the full market chain under EU rules. Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine are emerging as key players in these developments.

Not long after the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, western policymakers began to think about how to reduce European reliance on Russian hydrocarbon resources by expanding Europe’s alternative sources. Much of the energy diplomacy undertaken since then has focused on building pipeline infrastructure designed to bring new sources of oil and gas to Europe that bypass Russia. Of course, this strategy has seen many large successes, with the development of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline and the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) perhaps the most notable examples.

December 2, 2021 - Dwight Nystrom Geoffrey Lyon

Serbia is under pressure from Chinese investments

The last decade has seen Belgrade and Beijing become close economic partners. Whilst this cooperation has brought many benefits to the Balkan state, its one-sided dependence on Chinese investment may cause issues in the future.

November 29, 2021 - Ihor Levchenko

Budapest, Beijing, Brussels and beyond: a conversation on Viktor Orbán’s China policy

As China explores new strategic opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán seeks his own advantages from the partnership. Despite the many limitations and lack of public support for closer Sino-Hungarian ties, threatening Brussels with the Chinese dragon yields some results.

July 20, 2021 - Meghan Poff

Education on prejudice today and during the interwar period

How far along have we really come in tackling discrimination and ‘othering’ since the interwar period?

June 30, 2021 - Sára Bagdi

Hungary’s friends in need

When the first three cases of COVID-19 were registered in Hungary in March 2020, the government instituted a state of emergency and imposed restrictions that could still be in place this summer. At that time the Hungarian authorities almost immediately followed other countries in their fight against the virus; first by purchasing, independent of the EU, personal protection gear and later, non-EU approved vaccines.

Hungary has used the pandemic to convince the European Union and its own citizens that in difficult situations there is no point counting on EU institutions. Only partners from the East (mainly China and Russia) are reliable. These are real friends indeed. The sequence of priority (China being first) is not accidental either. It was from China that Hungary received an almost uninterrupted supply of personal protective gear. Deliveries, which arrived on board WizzAir planes (Hungary’s low-cost airline), were welcomed by senior officials at Budapest’s airport, including the minister of foreign affairs, Péter Szijjártó.

June 23, 2021 - Dominik Héjj

Billboards, bureaucracy, Budapest. Foreign students in the Hungarian capital

Prejudice against foreigners runs deep in Hungarian society and this will require complex, large scale changes in order to solve. This includes bureaucratic reform, civil campaigns and better language and cultural education.

June 22, 2021 - Márton Munding

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