Budapest's balancing between traditional and non-traditional ties.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban recently received two important visitors in Budapest: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (February 2) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (February 17). The short interval between them is symbolic of Hungary's foreign-policy balancing act. However, the Fidesz government's 'Eastern opening' strategy has increasingly shown its limits in the past year, prompting Orban to make gestures towards his Western allies.
- Central European allies are likely to distance themselves further from Hungary following Putin's visit to Budapest.
- Despite addressing discriminatory taxes on TV advertising, political control will continue to limit foreign media investments.
- Anti-Russian sentiment within Hungarian public opinion may open a window of opportunity for opposition parties.