Viktor Orbàn’s Fidesz party is clearly popular with Hungarian voters. Following an election campaign that saw plenty of EU-bashing rhetoric, the ruling party has secured roughly 50% of the vote according to recent projections, meaning it’s likely to hold a two-thirds majority in parliament. This, of course, gives new impetus to the question: Will Hungary leave the EU?

Hungary has changed a lot during Prime Minister Orbàn’s twelve years in office. Since 2010, many analysts argue the country’s political system has been moving away from the liberal Western democratic model and towards an authoritarian or illiberal democracy, as seen in countries such as Turkey or Russia. The media are fiercely loyal to the state, obstacles are thrown in the way of a fragmented political opposition, and the separation of powers is crumbling. Nevertheless, these “strong men” who defend their countries against enemies (both internal and external) are apparently popular with the public.

Following the election, the question is to what extent the European Union can accept as a Member State a country which is arguably moving away from common European core values. The political criteria for EU membership are clearly defined. In case of breaches of those criteria, infringement procedures can be initiated. There are currently over 70 cases against Hungary. When is enough enough (for both sides)? How likely is a ‘Hunxit’ after Orbán’s re-election?

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Terezia, who recently visited Hungary and was deeply shocked by the widespread hostility toward the EU that she saw. Was her impression an accurate reflection of Hungarian public opinion?

To get a reaction, we put Ralph’s comment to András Fekete-Györ, a Hungarian opposition politician and leader of the Momentum Movement political party. What would he say?

No, that’s not correct. The Hungarian government is anti-European. According to surveys, 70% of Hungarians are in favour of staying in the European Union. Thus, Hungary is one of the most pro-European countries there is. We also greatly benefit from the money European taxpayers pay for subsidies. But the political elite in Hungary does not let this money reach people; they steal this money! The money is not spent on solving social or structural problems. This is a huge problem, but does not mean that the Hungarian population is against the EU.

To get another perspective, we also put Terezia’s comment to Jan Niklas Engels, the office manager of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Budapest. What would he say?

Interestingly, she is not right. According to Eurobarometer, 40% of Hungarians have a positive attitude towards the EU, 40% a neutral attitude, and only 20% a negative one. This is above average in when compared to other European countries, although [support for the EU] has been decreasing since 2010. This could be one reason why the Hungarian government is happy to use Brussels as a scapegoat. This happens in many countries, but what is unusual in Hungary last year was a nation-wide political questionnaire with the title “Stop Brussels!”, in which voters were asked very leading questions. Of course, this does not allow a neutral discussion and ultimately it splits the country. Part of the population is therefore also experiencing discontent about the European Union. Therefore, I can imagine that Terezia met such people who have developed a real hostility towards the EU.

Next up, we had a comment from Oliver, who expects to see ‘Hunxit’ after the election because Hungary does not want to accept judgements from the European Court of Justice. Is a Hungarian exit from the EU a realistic prospect? What did Jan Niklas Engels think?

I think it is unrealistic to expect Hungary to leave the EU because a large part of the Hungarian population are in favour of EU membership. In addition, Hungary benefits greatly from subsidies, with calculations showing that 60% of investment in the country was financed by the EU. The Hungarian economy is also very closely interwoven with the economies of other EU countries; the German automotive industry is particularly important. That would be threatened by an exit.

In the long term, however, economic reasons will not suffice; we should also agree on fundamental rights and values. Here Hungary has taken a different course, often speaking of an ‘illiberal democracy’. So, in the long-term, the threat of a Hungarian exit from the EU does exist. To avoid this, we should speak more in the EU about our common values ​​and our vision of the future of Europe…

Will Hungary leave the EU? Do you think that is realistic or is the population clearly behind Europe while the government provokes? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: cc / Flickr – European Union 2012 EP / Pietro Naj-Oleari; PORTRAIT CREDITS: Engels: (c) – FES


84 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Nacho

    I don’t think so… Orban has been President since longtime ago and Hungary never left EU,why would they do it now?

    • Laszlo

      why?

    • Mark

      Because the country’s veto power means it will likely stall the development of a reformed EU. Meaning that a tiny country with a population of only 9.8 million will be able to undermine the entire bloc.

    • Mark

      @Ivan You just quoted the Daily Mail as a source – you’ve undermined your argument. Did you notice that other elections have been held and NOT supported the right-wing candidates? Don’t cherry pick your evidence.

    • Ivan

      Mark Jarecki You think the Daily Mail is responsible for the Austria people electing a right wing government ? I bet they wish they had that kind of power lol Wait until the MEP elections next year, the anti EU vote will increase on an ever falling turnout & you could end up with Marine Le Pen as Juncker’s replacement :) Now that will be funny.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-europe-populist-right/

    • Francisco

      @Mark Whats up mate! Don’t punish the HU people for this. Leaving the EU would only bring poverty, lack of resources, many many more Hungarians leaving the country. Keep your friend close but your enemies closer.. The people is not to be held responsible. At the end of the day, young and educated people voted the right way. But the rest of the country is just the oposite and afraid of loosing the few benefits they have but do not understand where it comes frrom…

    • Mark

      Hey hey! I totally agree. It was just my knee-jerk reaction. I just don’t get why people think giving total power to a corrupt individual will somehow solve their problems. The Eastern countries are bleeding smart, young people because of this bulls**t.

    • Anonymous

      If the hungarians don’t like being in the eu… they can do like the uk… go. And i hope so.

    • Ivan

      .

      The dissatisfactions is with Brussels, they left one dictatorship because of false promises from the EU only to find it is just another dictatorship.

      Fascism, Nazism, Communism and now Europeanism, different flags but the same deranged lust to rule all Europe.

    • Maarten

      Ivan Burrows Strange how Fascism, Nazism and Communism all seem to favor a personal cult of individual leaders, an over-important executive branch of government (while weakening the judicial and legislative branches) and a mistrust of civil society, while the EU does not. I wonder where Orban ranks on these issues…?

    • George

      What you people have against Hungary? They are right, a small country like Hungary can’t acceptable to bring undocumented people in the country! period!

    • Ivan

      @Maarten Your EU is ruled by an unelected Politburo with an unelected Supreme Leader which is the very definition of a dictatorship & the natural successor Nazism & Communism.

    • Willem-Jan

      General dissatisfaction of the country’s population? the 133 seats that Fidesz secured show exactly the opposite. An effective combination of economic growth and anti-immigration rhetoric was the winning formula. I’d say the hungarian people are pretty pleased.

    • Ricardo

      They have a thing to do… leave eu. Like.the uk.

  2. Andreas

    If they want to leave the door is open!

    • Nikolas

      Well said Andreas!

    • Rumy

      No is not….look at Brexit.

    • John

      @Rumy

      … Brexit being the UK granted the right to leave? Not sure what you’re getting at here.

  3. Gabor

    Sorry for the country, it’s so unfortunately for Hungary! It’s so sad! It is a blame and shame for us!

    Merkels Deutschland and German monopolism it’s reponsible on very high level on this result too!

    • Oliver

      “Merkels Deutschland and German monopolism it’s reponsible on very high level on this result too!”

      Given that it’s completely imaginary, hardly so. It’s just the use of a convenient scapegoat.

    • Tim

      Germany is most certainly responsible, of that there is no question

    • Gabor

      @Oliver
      Du bist offensichtlich nicht ein Wirtschaftsökonom. Na hoffentlich zumindest! Entschuldigung! 😆

  4. Willem-Jan

    Of course not! Most likely they will consolidate their alliance with central and eastern European member states that will serve as a counter weight to the west. A very healthy development in my opinion.

    • Tim

      Since the EU only seems to serve Germany, it seems to need to happen unfortunately

  5. Attila

    Orban is for E.U. not against it !
    If somebody have a diffrent oppinion that not means he is against it.
    People of Hungary in free election decided , why do not accepted this…
    The base of democracy is freedom of choice…

    • Oliver

      “Orban is for E.U. not against it !”

      He’s for getting EU money. He just doesn’t want to do anything for getting it. He believes the EU is livestock, cattle that exists solely to feed him.

      “If somebody have a diffrent oppinion that not means he is against it.”

      If he rejects the core values the EU is built upon, yes, it is.

      “People of Hungary in free election decided , why do not accepted this…”

      Because the election wasn’t fair and Hungary at present is far from a functioning pluralistic society.

      “The base of democracy is freedom of choice…”

      Which is hardly given in Hungary, where plenty of people have no choice but to listen to Orban’s propaganda.

      And the base of any relationship is that you abide by the rules it is governed by.

      Orban is free to chose he doesn’t want the obligations that come with EU membership. But the consequence of that is that he doesn’t get the amenities, either.

    • Péter

      What a b******t. You don’t even know Hungary. The socialist and liberal party used to make horrible things with Hungary and Orban turned a lot of things to a positive way. People don’t want that s**t again. There’s a lot of reasons why they chose him, you are a typicall arrogant foreigner who wants to dictate to a country what they have to think or choose. Nobody cares your opinion

  6. Malcolm

    Good for them. Lucky they have a president who love his country and his people and is not a puppet of Brussels

    • Eszter

      no.this president only loves himself and allows great benefits for a few who support him closely.He accepts & wastes EU support ( = money) but front of the cameras he talks about refusing the EU basic values and rules.He is not a hero,but a maniac.

  7. Michael

    Are most people in the EU really worried about Hungary or in favour of pushing them out because they elected Orban? That would be a good question to ask us. I think most people will say, “Leave Hungary to it, we’ve got our own problems to focus on.”

  8. Aris

    Hungary belongs to the EU, Historically, cultural etc etc.
    There is NO dilemma about that.
    A bad government doesn’t mean that we need to “punish” an entire European Nation. EU has to use all her forces to keep Hungary inside our Union. We need Hungary and Hungary needs us.

    • Pier

      Why is the hungarian government “bad”? It’s not the first time Orban has been elected, he must have done a good job for his country, and nobody asked to leave europe.

  9. Szabolcs

    Hungary won’t. Hopefully we get ourselfves removed – so the ones voted on corruption and hate will need visa for the Paris Olympics.

  10. Stefano

    As long as they have money from us no

    • Ivan

      From you ? ?? lol

    • Stefano

      From Italy, Germany, France ecc…

  11. Bernard

    Probably not, but the EU needs to change. It must move away from excessive commitments made in the 1990s about asylum, and it must start taking subsidiarity seriously, and hopefully also change the Treaties to lower the bar for the removal of old laws that no longer enjoy support.

  12. Jorge

    If Orban was a decent politician, Hungary would leave the EU right now. But… oh, my friends, one thing is your honesty and another very different one is your bread and that bread is more important than political honesty.

  13. ΜΑΓΑΛΙΟΣ

    Congrats to Orban for his win.

  14. Tony

    Hungary is being called an illiberal democracy because it’s citizens vote overwhelmingly for a particular political party in a free election. Can anyone suggest an alternative?

  15. Tim

    You can thank Merkel, Germany is responsible for these governments

  16. Stefano

    To be frankly I don’t think Hungary will leave the Eu , and we should also remember that Orban got its duty as PM., since 2010 , so 8 years have passed away, and he would have leave the EU before, since 2014 .
    The problem , could be the next year for the entire EU which Hungary would inevitable gains more votes than this election.

  17. Joao

    of course not. The thing is that Hungary, Poland, Austria etc are very old countries with a strong and precise sense of what Europe is and should be be and are coliding with the idea and interpretation of the leading eurocrats in Brussels.

    • Brian

      Hungary, Poland and Austria need to take sides for democracy or side with Putin.

    • Joao

      Define Democracy.

  18. Umut

    As far as EU support continues, Hungary won’t think of leaving EU. Orban is not stupid, what will Hungary do without EU alone? But, using this threatining is a big benefit for him, his party and Hungary at the moment.

  19. Paolo

    Since adding most of eastern european countries has seemingly destabilised the Union, giving a hand to Putin’s Russia to strengthen its influence in Europe, I think EU should defend itself and its integrity by expelling those countries who deliberately choose nationalism and neo-nazism.
    Is Orbàn representing his people? Then his people are not sharing european values.
    After all, modern Europe was born by fighting nazifascism.

    • Peter

      Dear Paolo, do you think that “european values” mean your bolshevist bullshit? I don’t think so. You have never lived in a communist country. I have. So please be democratic enough to accept the decision of the people and let us get rid of our communists for ever. Cheers, Peter from Hungary.

    • catherine benning

      @ Paolo

      I am a little confused by your post. The EU is falling apart under your odd perception of European values and what it means to the indigenous peoples here, not the other way around? Can you please explain what your idea of European values are. The EU is destabilised by it’s globalist policies which include the annihilation of the indigenous peoples of this continent by encouraged mass third world invasion of unproductive peoples. Those whose intention is to destroy the Christian formed values we have inherited via ‘our’ ancestry and the ensuing human rights laws.

      Eastern Europeans are in complete unison with their fellow Western tribes by voting to be rid of such destruction to their social cohesion and culture. The difference is, the Western Europeans have been forbidden to both know of the plan and policy to import this levelling or to discuss it when they become aware of it. Plus, more importantly, they are not given an open alternative policy to vote for. What they are offered in more of the same, simply spelled out in an alternative way. Or, they are being denied a leader who has the passion or intention to speak out and stop it. They are not fortunate enough to be listened to the way they are in Hungary.

      Politicians, when the subject arises in their midst, have no argument to back up what they have done to their people, so they resort to name calling, just as you have. Now we are at last aware of the dangers people like you have placed on our society and culture, you no longer have a leg to stand on.

      Another question, can you please tell me how much diversity and multiculture is
      actively taking place across, Africa, India, China, Japan, Israel, et al? And please be specific. Where are these biblical masses of Europeans being welcomed, en masse, housed, educated, fed, given employment before those of their indigenous societies, taking place? How is their breading pattern performing in order to raise their count in those other parts of the world? How is the New World Order pushing for their assimilation into those different societies and cultures I have mentioned? Do please tell us. Or, from your outbursts of name calling, are their leaders and citizens mentioned also Nazified because they don’t want to encourage their particular tribes to be wiped out by our particular persuasion of life values by reverse mass invasion?

      Orban has the respect to listen to the people in his country and take notice of what it is they value. And that is, family life, rule of law, peaceful pursuits in education, politics, science, the arts, religion, and most of all the right to life guarded by their fellow countryman.

  20. Michelle

    He should stay to promote diversity between member countries ✨

  21. randomguy2017

    It was Eastern Europeans who did most of the fighting
    against Nazism and they suffered under Communism also.

    And the Libs and Socialists are calling Orban, a NaziFascist? Very strange.
    Putin is Adolf, Trump is Adolf, yes everyone is Adolf. Unless you are Karl Marx.

    Face it the EU of today is different from what some of founders wanted.
    All the Catholics originally involved would look at this abomination and roll.

    European values? Well that is/Christianity majority for 1000-2000 years.
    EU values? Abortions on demand, radical feminism, gender “idealogy”, bombing Libya, messing with Syria, and replacing Europeans with mass immigration.

    See the difference? hey lets throw in Russia for some extra fear mongering.
    Last night Putin ate my lunch. Boy I was angry lol.

    Europe needs more Orban, Putin, Farage, Le Pen.

    Big bad Eastern European are now the untermensch for some you it seems.
    How dare they value family and tradition… Good thing Orban won. Congratulations to Hungary.

    • Karolina

      Hungary is in Central Europe though. Not Eastern. And it never really was a communist country. Another pointless propaganda comment from you.

    • Karolina

      I visited Hungary during the time of the Iron Curtain and it definitely was not the same as other Communist countries. It enjoyed some freedom. That was because Hungarians would not have it.

  22. Jose

    They don’t share our common values, but they like our money and foreign investment too much

    • Brian

      Truer words have never been spoken!

  23. Bobbi

    Who runs away from net influx of money

  24. Karolina

    No, I don’t think it will. It will just have to embrace modern-day democratic values.

    yes you can be a neo Nezi even if your forefathers fought against the Nazis. This is what antisemitism is. It is Nazism of a kind.

    • Peter from Hungary

      “And it never really was a communist country.”
      You must be joking. Have you ever heard about Mátyás Rákosi, who was called the best disciple of Stalin. Or about the revolution in 1956 followed by a cruel communist repression? The followers of Rákosi, Kádár & Co. reigned till 1990 and have kept their economical and media power for the past 3 decades.
      Communism and globalism have the same roots, even if they use different – smooth or rough – tools.

  25. Christian

    Please, leave, so fast as you can.

  26. Sunil

    Only leaving European Union will not stabilise the system or as a whole nation. Let’s rather change the union policy to accommodate the needs.

  27. EU Reform- Proactive

    “The key question for EU leaders is how to retain the Hungarian public’s sympathies without funding Orbáns illiberal regime” ………………………….??

    One should not and cannot divide & fight as a “third force” in a (still) sovereign country supporting one people against another by a carrot & stick approach!
    Even if the name is EU. “Bribery” may work with children at times- not with seasoned voters!

    The EU has lost trust, respect & hope because of it’s yet unfulfilled original economic promises or at best underachieved economic results. This was believed to be everyone’s “financial redeemer & up-lifter”. The reality turned out different.

    The EU leadership instead counterbalanced its economic doziness by empathizing politically strictness, rigidity & liberally applying threats & penalties as per its Article 7 of its treaty laws & regulations etc. Tell me, which voter in any country ever read the fine print before casting their EU Yes or EU No vote?

    Everyone would like a happy & united Europe, not an arrogant draconian EU political dragon! EU & EU Commissioners, dare and kick Hungary or Poland out from your shaky Union! It will just hasten one final act!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_7_of_the_Treaty_on_European_Union

    • Adrian

      How are you for “reform” again?
      I heard more rational discourse from Nigel Farage, than from you

  28. Fredrik

    Throw them out. All countries that dont share the very basics of EU, that it is beetter to cooperate and live in harmony than have national romantic and confictive attitudes, should leave EU.

    • Adrian

      Not so fast.
      We would do the brexit fascists’ job for them – breaking the union.
      AND Russia who bankrolled Trump and Brexit.

  29. Paul X

    “What do I Think?”

    András Fekete-Györ “70% of Hungarians are in favor of staying in the EU”

    Jan Niklas Engels “40% of Hungarians have a positive attitude towards the EU”

    I think the people you get to respond to comments are clueless….

    • Karolina

      If they don’t agree with you and your view of the world, then they must be clueless… Never mind that they are a majority and have their studies and their degrees. Definitely, you know better than them :-)

    • Paul X

      Karolina, as it happens I do have a degree….. but that is immaterial…you don’t need much of an education to work out that at least one of them must be talking p!sh :-)

  30. Dusan

    I think that Europe is leaving yourself, and if EU will destroy welfare state, taht will be definitely

  31. Elena

    Well, they cannot have their cake and eat it. As long as they choose leaders instead of representatives they will fail anyway.

    • Adrian

      Stop listening to conspiracy kranks and doing drugs, lady.

  32. Adrian

    Let’s see antisemitism in the campaign ( Soros and the evil “elites” running the new world order or some other nonsense )
    Xenophobia ( immigrants are evil ! )
    Racism and islamophobia ( a few muslims will RUIN OUR COUNTRY omg !!! )

    Yeah Hungary should be ejected if Orban truly represented “the will of the people” to quote the dumbasses here.
    But here’s the thing…and omg as a romanian i am DEFENDING HUNGARY !…he is not.
    He is representing a lunatic fringe but using their messed up electoral system to win every time.

    Same in Romania actually where a vermin by the name of Dragnea does the same thing. THE SAME thing.

    Lucky us we got Hungary as “early warning”.

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