- Stay updated on the latest news from Hungary by signing up for the free InsightHungary newsletter
Hungarian government bans teens from World Press Photo Exhibition over LGBTQ content
The Hungarian government has issued a ban on individuals below the age of 18 from attending the World Press Photo exhibition in Budapest. This decision is based on the presence of LGBTQ content on display. Dóra Dúró, deputy president of the far-right Our Homeland party, had previously urged the government to investigate whether the exhibition violated Hungary's controversial child protection law.
The law prohibits the "representation and promotion of homosexuality" in materials such as books and films for individuals under the age of 18. This legislation is commonly referred to as the anti-LGBT law, and the European Union has initiated legal proceedings against it. Dúró raised concerns about photographs depicting an LGBTQ nursing home. The National Museum has included a notice on its website stating that the exhibition is not accessible to those under 18. The Museum, however, does not enforce the ban -- the cultural institution does not ask for IDs when entering the exhibition.
Orbán holds work meetings at luxury estate, former government official says
According to a former senior government official, Hungary's far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán not only spends weekends with his family at a luxury estate in Hatvanpuszta, but also regularly hosts government officials, politicians, and government-friendly businessmen, VSquare's newsletter reports.
According to the source, the prime minister moved meetings from his Felcsút home to the former Habsburg estate after the renovation was completed in the summer.
The renovation of the estate is estimated to have cost €30 million and is owned by Győző Orbán, the prime minister's father. VSquare notes that the prime minister's official annual income is €180,000. According to VSquare, Orbán's work meetings typically take place in the evening. His immediate subordinates make the 24-mile journey from Budapest by car. Locals say there is also a lot of helicopter traffic in the area and military and police planes are often seen in the air. The prime minister regularly shows up at a restaurant and winery in neighboring Etyek.
Hungary and Slovakia criticize additional aid to Ukraine
During a summit of the European Union's 27 national leaders, Viktor Orbán expressed his opposition to the EU providing Ukraine with €50 billion in aid. His Slovak counterpart also voiced concerns about extending financial support to Kyiv, citing concerns about corruption.
In December, the EU is set to decide on a revision of its 2021-2027 budget, which is already under pressure due to emergency spending during the COVID pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The European Commission proposed that member states contribute more to the shared budget to provide €50 billion to Ukraine and allocate an additional €15 billion for migration. Another proposal suggested allocating €20 billion in military aid for Ukraine.
Decisions regarding the budget require unanimous agreement, and divisions were evident during the summit. Orbán stated that Hungary would not support additional aid for Ukraine unless a well-justified proposal was presented. He remarked, "The one in front of us... that's not going to work. So, for the time being, we will reject that as well, and we will see where we get in December."
Orbán's comments came at a time when Budapest was attempting to access EU funds blocked by the European Commission due to concerns about the rule of law. Orbán faced criticism from some of his fellow leaders at the summit for meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in China while the EU had been distancing itself from the Kremlin.
Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico, who had just been appointed to the position for the fourth time, announced that Bratislava would no longer provide military support to Ukraine and would instead focus on humanitarian aid. Fico cited pervasive corruption as a reason for caution in allocating new resources to Kyiv, as reported by two EU diplomats who were briefed on the closed-door discussions.
Luxembourg PM: Orbán gave Ukrainians the middle finger
Xavier Bettel, on the second day of the EU summit that commenced on Thursday, expressed his belief that the EU should not permit itself to be under the influence of Viktor Orbán. The Prime Minister of Luxembourg the Prime Minister of Estonia and the President of Lithuania criticized the recent meeting between their Hungarian counterpart and Putin.
Upon his arrival at the EU summit on the first day, Orbán stated that he was proud of his strategy focused on maintaining open communication channels, which he deemed a peace strategy. However, Bettel's perspective was different. He believed that Orbán's meeting with Putin effectively disregarded the soldiers and Ukrainian civilians who are losing their lives daily due to Russia's aggression.
The liberal politician also raised concerns about Viktor Orbán's efforts, sometimes thinly veiled and at other times quite explicit, to link the extension of EU aid to Ukraine, scheduled for renewal at the end of the year, with financial considerations for Hungary. He argued that it was unacceptable to imply that an increase in funding for Ukraine should be tied to securing additional resources for Hungary. Bettel emphasized the importance of not allowing Orbán to hold the EU hostage and expressed confidence in finding a positive resolution.