Hungary’s prime minister is trying to cultivate ties with Eurosceptic and anti-immigration leaders across the continent
Tens of thousands of Hungarians have been protesting against Viktor Orbán only weeks after his populist rightwing Fidesz party secured another strong majority, renewing its hold on power until 2022. These pro-democracy campaigners surely deserve solidarity and practical support from people who care about Europe. At the same time it’s important to look more closely at Orbán’s wider regional ambitions. Strongmen can be emboldened by their own success.
We don’t yet know how far Orbán will go in his democratic backsliding. Signs of more pressure being piled on NGOs are hardly reassuring. But Orbán also has his sights on Europe’s shifting geopolitics, and he must be buoyed up by the fact that far-right politicians across the continent have greeted his re-election with enthusiasm.