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Hungary's trying to revive Western ties may fall short

Friday, March 6, 2015

Subject

Budapest's balancing between traditional and non-traditional ties.

Significance

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.

Impacts

  • 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.
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