Viktor Orbán, facing an upcoming general election, may generate domestic political capital if the German government becomes more decisive in demanding that EU member states comply with the European Union’s migration-related regulations.
Hungary’s liaison with the Kremlin has turned the economic “Eastern Opening” into the construction of a full-blown illiberal democracy. This goes hand in hand with Russia’s growing leverage over Hungary with respect to economic as well as soft power.
Orbán tries to destroy Germany’s positive image in Central Eastern Europe, depicting Germany as the capital of the decadent, liberal, pro-immigration EU that is doomed to fail. Tolerating such a behaviour would be a huge long-term strategic mistake for Germany.
Viktor Orbán and his closest allies have taken control of most of the Hungarian media. Journalists at loyal outlets are expected to closely follow instructions from the state apparatus; in exchange, they receive advertising money from government institutions.
In Hungary, NGOs are now required to register as “civic organisations funded from abroad” if they receive financial support from a foreign source. The government is trying to delegitimise any organisation that criticises certain government policies, says Veronika Móra.
The Hungarian government’s recently adopted legislation seem to specifically target the Central European University, creating a situation of existential instability. Anna Frenyó spoke with Zsolt Enyedi, the university’s Pro-Rector for Hungarian Affairs about the latest developments.
On Tuesday, 13 June, Hungary’s National Assembly passed a law that requires NGOs which receive foreign funds above the annual threshold of 24000 EUR to register and label themselves as “foreign-funded organisations” on their websites and in their publications.
In April 2017, a series of demonstrations took place in Budapest against an amendment to the Higher Education Act. They were organised by mostly social media-based groups, but they differed in several aspects from the demonstration culture that has been the norm in Hungary in recent decades.
In the beginning of April, the Hungarian President János Áder signed into force certain amendments to the Higher Education Act which in their particular formulation are obviously directed against the renowned Central European University (CEU), based in Budapest. We discussed with President Michael Ignatieff the implications of the new legislation on the university and its future prospects.
Two years ago, the Hungarian government began to criminalise asylum seekers and migrants with clear political motivations. Within a few months, their initial verbal aggression and hate campaign targeting refugees had developed into actual legislative amendments which violated refugees’ rights.