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Fidesz voters would prefer even stronger ties with Russia
Political preference among Hungarians has a considerable impact on the perception of Russia and Ukraine – Median Institute's latest polls show. The survey conducted on a sample of 1,000 Hungarian citizens, was commissioned by 444.
The figures from this new survey show that the perception of Western countries is stagnating (compared to a study made in 2018 by the same institute), but Hungarians have become distrustful of world superpowers. In the case of Russia, the result was predictable because of the invasion of Ukraine. But the 10-point drop in the perception of the United States is quite remarkable. No survey was conducted on Ukraine in 2018, but Median measured a low, 33-point approval rating this year. One explanation for the low numbers in the case of the US may be the new administration and the narrative (strongly supported by the Hungarian government) that suggests the United States was actively involved in the triggering and the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.
Changes in perceptions are strongly correlated with political preferences in Hungary. It also shows in Russia’s scores. Although the war has made pro-government voters more critical of Russia, opposition voters are even more critical of the country’s leadership. Among Fidesz voters, the current figure dropped 16 points compared to the survey made 4 years ago, and 25 points among voters who are not supportive of the ruling party.
The differences were even more striking when they asked which country should Hungary have closer relations with – Russia or the United States. America leads in terms of the total population, but there is a significant difference between those who are in favor of the governing party and who have other party preferences.
Just under a quarter of Fidesz voters said they would prefer stronger ties with America compared to opposition voters – eight-tenths of the latter group would prefer closer relations with the US. According to Median’s survey, 55 percent of pro-Orban voters would prefer stronger relations with Russia.
Hungarian ambassador to Croatia summoned over Orban’s controversial comments
The Hungarian ambassador was summoned by the Croatian Foreign Minister over Viktor Orban's remarks in a recent interview. The Croatian ambassador to Hungary has asked Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto for an explanation for these comments – Croatian new site Otvoreno writes.
The Hungarian Prime Minister said on public radio last Friday that the EU’s oil embargo does not affect all member states equally and that Hungary has a disadvantage because "our seas were taken away from us".
The Croatian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying "we condemn all territorial claims against sovereign states". They asked for an explanation why these comments "unnecessarily damaging to neighborly relations "were made.
State Secretary Tamas Menczer reacted to the statement saying it was a misunderstanding and that Orban only mentioned a "historical fact". Menczer was referring to the Treaty of Trianon. By the terms of the treaty, Hungary was shorn of at least two-thirds of its former territory, including Rijeka (Fiume), a coastal city that now belongs to Croatia. Before 1918, Hungary had access to the sea through the Rijeka coastline.
Minor Party Volner changes its name to Huxit Party
“Today marks the end of the first one and a half year phase of Volner Party. We will continue our work under the name Huxit Party - signaling our next major goal. Our most important goal is to achieve Hungary’s withdrawal from the European Union,” writes Janos Volner, an independent member of the National Assembly, who did not win a mandate for the next term.
Volner says it is becoming "economically unviable for Hungary to remain in the EU", and the war in Ukraine has caused supply issues that "could be solved with Huxit".
The party’s founder, who is a former member of Jobbik and Mi Hazank, has spoken openly about their aims to support Fidesz’s policies.
According to political analysts, this move signals that Orban is testing the Hungarian public’s receptiveness to a potential withdrawal from the EU.
Hungary’s inflation hits a 20-year record in April
Prices went up in Hungary by 9.5 percent in April compared to last year. The last time inflation was at such a high rate was 21 years ago, in the second quarter of 2001.
According to Portfolio, there are several reasons for the price rises. On one hand, inflation is hitting decade highs worldwide due to increasing global energy and food prices, which are rising mainly because of the Ukraine war – on the other, there are internal effects. Various price freezes are supposed to curb inflation, which is why Hungarian inflation is on the European average. On the other hand, at the beginning of the year, the Hungarian government stimulated demand with significant measures (tax rebate, 13th-month pension), which makes it easier for service providers to raise prices. This year’s 20 percent increase in the minimum wage and the guaranteed minimum wage is also pushing prices up. The impact of the war next door could trigger even higher inflation in the coming months.