Sore Losers: EU Set to Sanction Hungary After Orbán Election Landslide

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a speech during a special plen
JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images

The European Union looks set to launch sanctions against Hungary after Viktor Orbán achieved a landslide victory in the country’s recent general election.

It appears that the European Union is not happy with the result of Hungary’s recent general election, with many in Brussels seemingly hoping the country’s united opposition would manage to unseat long-running conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

However, after Orbán’s recent landslide victory, the EU looks set to take a different approach to tackling the populist administration.

According to a report by Euronews, the European Commission has triggered the so-called “conditionality mechanism” over what are alleged to be Hungarian breaches of EU law.

The move — which had only recently been ruled legal by a European court — opens up the eastern-European country to economic sanctions, allowing the EU to freeze funding sent to the eastern European country, which reportedly amounts currently to around five billion euros per anum.

While the exact reasons for the triggering of the mechanism were not given, the commission has previously repeatedly targeted Hungary over alleged “corruption” regarding its judiciary, with many in Europe also taking issue with the Conservative cultural dominance in its national media.

Both Hungary and Poland were previously seen as prime targets for the rules by the EU before the Ukraine crisis kicked off again in late February, with the bloc accusing both countries of democratic shortcomings not in keeping with European values.

Post-Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine, it seems Hungary has become the prime internal target for Brussels’ wrath, with Orbán’s administration being accused of unfairly tipping the scales of the election via the cultural capital conservatives have in Hungary.

The sentiment that the Hungarian administration should be punished for perceived transgressions against the European order appears to be common amongst union elites, with some within the EU cheering on the possibility of sanctions.

“[The EU Commission] finally takes action [against] Hungary within the rule of law mechanism,” wrote Romanian MEP Ramona Strugariu online. “It’s time for Hungarian PM Orbán to pay for all the violations of democracy, [Human Rights] and [Rule of Law].”

Others meanwhile have attacked Orbán over his alleged friendliness towards Vladimir Putin, with the Prime Minister having found himself repeatedly at loggerheads with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Hungary must choose its side, and whether they belong to the EU and Nato,” said Czech foreign minister Jan Lipavskỷ, noting that he was “not satisfied with the election’s result in Hungary”.

“We are facing existential issues,” The Guardian meanwhile reports Finnish MEP Petri Sarvamaa as saying. “These are totalitarian authoritarian regimes vis-a-vis the democratic world and Orbán seems to be willing to be part of that [first] camp.”

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