Consequences of elections in Hungary for the European Union

2022/04/19 | Note, political, top news

Strategic Council Online-opinion: The recent elections in Hungary, concurrent with the war in Ukraine, caused great sensitivities in this country and in the European Union. In this election, Victor Urban, the leader of Fitz ruling party, ran against Peter Marquise, the leader of a six-party coalition opposition. All opposition parties seemed to see the defeat of Urban and Fitz in the parliamentary elections as their common goal. The European Union also followed the elections closely; But despite the predictable outcome of the election, little hope for Hungarian reformists as well as Brussels leaders was dashed, and the Fitz party was declared the winner with more than half of the vote. Hossein Sayyahi—Researcher of international issue

With Fitz party winning the election, Europe will see him retain his post as prime minister for a fourth consecutive term. A Kremlin-leaning prime minister who is critical of and opposed to Brussels’ policies, as well as a symbol of the resurgence of nationalism and totalitarianism in the European Union. These features are enough to make it clear that EU leaders were counting down the days to his defeat. But by announcing the result, Urban’s speech was in fact a response to them. “We have won a great victory, which you can see from the moon, and you can certainly see from Brussels,” he said in his victory speech.

This seems to be part of declaration of the possible positions of his government in the future. Conflict and insistence on policies that the EU is in no way able to accept. But a very different point in this period of Urban’s presidency is the emergence of his old challenges with the European Union, in a new atmosphere. Clearly, post-war Europe in Ukraine will not be the same as in the past, and Urban and Brussels know this.

 

Urban policies in clear opposition to the European Union

Over the past 12 years, the challenges between the Urban government and the European Union have covered a wide range of issues. Urban has close ties to the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two countries have extensive trade and economic relations; Due to Hungary’s dependence on fossil fuels, Russia supplies more than 85 percent of Hungary’s gas and 64 percent of its oil needs.

In the last decade, these relationships have also developed more. In addition, issues such as proximity to governments such as Azerbaijan and Belarus have led to tensions between Budapest and Brussels. Other notable things that only Urban seems to be able to do individually and within the EU borders include cooperating with China and criticizing EU policies against Beijing and signing an agreement with that country on the transfer of G5 technology and the embargoed Huawei company.

From Brussels’ point of view, the Urban government’s disregard for the rule of law, control over the media and independent institutions, diminished economic and security stability through vague agreements with countries such as China and Russia, and disregard for EU standards and laws are among Brussels and Budapest disputes. Is. But most importantly, what worries the EU is the emergence of illiberal governments with divergent and sometimes extremist nationalist policies that cause disintegration at the heart of the union and within it.

 

The European Union and Hungary during the Ukraine war

The new confrontation between Budapest and Brussels could take a different form, given the war in Ukraine. In Hungary, Urban is well aware that the majority of the people continue to support Hungary’s presence in the union. The people of this country, while sympathizing with the people of Ukraine, strongly condemn Russia’s actions. Thus, despite close ties with Russia, the Hungarian prime minister has been forced to choose a middle ground.

Support for EU sanctions against Russia, as well as cooperation in deploying NATO forces through its membership in the alliance, are some of such measures favored and pleased by the West. At the same time, however, it has opposed the passage of deadly Russian weapons to Ukraine via Hungary, as well as sanctions against Russia’s energy sector.

The sensitivities of the Russian invasion of Ukraine have also led to tensions between Hungary and Poland, which are close friends and caused Urban to require a serious decision in connection with the policy of opening in the east. A policy aimed at working closely with Russia and China to rebuild the post-Covid economy and balance Western pressures.

In contrast, Brussels, which had hoped to regain its constructive role in the European Union with the victory of the Hungarian opposition, must decide on possible action against Hungary. European leaders, who now see their main goal as repelling the Russian threat, may, in an expedient choice, pursue a policy of appeasement with Budapest and wait for Hungarian mutual measures.

 

The probability of emergence of further divergence in the European Union

The European Union was once recognized as one of the potential superpowers. Unprecedented economic growth, advanced technology, social welfare, educational quality as well as cultural influence were some of the components of power in the union in a manner that convergence extended to a significant part of the economic sector to political issues and gradually, the idea of ​​security society and army merged and the European Army was formed in the minds of some European leaders.

But what is perceived today as challenges such as the type of relations between the EU and some of its members, such as Hungary, is not only the advancement of these ideas and the completion of convergence, but it can also be seen as a kind of divergence and evasion from fundamental principles.

 

The result of this election and such an experience are very bitter for Brussels in the heart of the Union, but the more bitter question for the leaders of the EU is what guarantee will there be that such other victories will not be repeated in some other EU member states?

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