Vladimir Putin praised Hungary’s ultra-nationalist authoritarian leader, Viktor Orbán, on his resounding election win, despite indications that European Union officials may begin a sanctions procedure targeting Hungary in order to protect EU funding threatened by anti-democratic member countries. Orban’s win came on the same day the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) concluded that Hungary’s general election was “marred by the lack of a level playing field.” Two European parliamentarians said they anticipate the European Commission to use the “rule of law conditionality process” against Hungary, which may result in the EU blocking billions in funds to the nation.
EU nations with the government-controlled judiciary and public institutions may be barred from receiving EU subsidies, however, the provision has never really been put to the test. MEPs voiced concern at Orbán’s victory address, in which he slammed “opponents,” taking a jab at “Brussels bureaucrats,” and also Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, at the European Parliament in Brussels on Monday. The blustering address occurred shortly after the horrors in Bucha and other villages bordering Ukraine shocked the world. Notwithstanding Hungary’s backing for EU sanctions targeting Russia, Putin expressed his congrats to Orbán, a long-time Kremlin friend.
Several prominent European right-wing politicians, including Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom, Marine Le Pen of France, and Matteo Salvini of Italy, congratulated Orbán. “When the people vote, the people win,” said Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader in France who is seeking to remove President Emmanuel Macron in upcoming elections. Daniel Freund, a long-time Orbán opponent, predicted that the commission will activate the rule-of-law process in a few days. According to Petri Sarvamaa, a center-right Finnish MEP, the commission will start the procedure fairly quickly, depending on his assessment, however, Hungary poses considerably more serious problems. He believes Europe is on the verge of a momentous juncture.
Throughout Orban’s twelve years in power, major official and commercial news outlets in Hungary have just been purchased by his loyalists. These loyalists also lead significant organizations in finance, education, news, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) throughout the nation. In Hungary, this political structure has produced an elite group of affluent ultra-conservative cronies. Orban’s oligarchs is how critics refer to these loyalist businessmen. Experts believe that Orbán’s resounding win would boost his conviction in his opposition to the EU. Although their approaches to Russia are diametrically different, the conservative administrations of Poland and Hungary have similar grounds in their struggle against the EU over the rule of law.