Did Viktor Orbán just hint at Huxit?

The Hungarian PM once again showed bravado before editing and mollifying his comments

2 February 2023

Iván László Nagy

Marcin Król Fellow

The Hungarian PM managed to outrage two countries at one go, including his own, by describing EU membership as “painful” and Ukraine as “a no-man’s land like Afghanistan.”

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, in July 2022, Viktor Orbán returned to Baile Tusnad, a campsite in Transylvania, to address hundreds, if not thousands, of his followers in the Hungarian-speaking region of Romania.

The keynote at this festival was as explosive as ever: he denounced “racial mixing” in Europe and explained The Great Replacement Theory in detail, as well as launched his anti-sanctions communication campaign, which has since become the core rhetoric of the Hungarian government. Amidst these claims, which even forced Orbán to retrace his steps (because who would have thought that speaking about ethnic homogeneity in Europe would cause international outrage in 2023?), there was a slight suggestion that has gone under the radar.

Whilst the PM has always described himself as a proud European who was only critical of Brussels’ bureaucrats, he explained that according to his calculations, Hungary will be a net contributor to the EU by 2030. By this time, he said, it might make sense to have some conversations about membership.


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Iván László Nagy

Marcin Król Fellow

Marcin Król Fellow. Ivan Laszlo Nagy is a 23-year-old Budapest-based political journalist, writing for a leading independent Hungarian news site, hvg.hu. As a UK graduate, his academic research about the communication techniques of populist regimes transformed into critical reporting about global democracy, with a special focus on quasi-authoritarian political flows in the West and in Hungary. His work as a reporter, analyst and commentator revolves around understanding the dynamics of societies oppressed by modern semi-dictators and working out ways for meaningful civic action within them, with special emphasis on mobilising young people for democratic action.


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