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PM Orbán defiant towards the EU

April 17th, 2013

A centrist blogger believes that the PM does not mind criticism from European leaders, but is unlikely to risk punitive sanctions from the European Union.

PM Orbán can lean back as long as the EU threatens distant and unspecified measures, Véleményvezér comments on the latest round of criticism. This time, Commission Chairman José Manuel Barroso expressed his concerns over the latest constitutional amendments (see BudaPost April 15). As long as PM Orbán can successfully frame the criticism as proof of his determination to protect Hungarian interests, voters will not turn their backs on him. This strategy, however, can be successful only as long as threats remain threats and the EU refrains from actually taking action against Hungary, Véleményvezér notes. If the European Commission decides not to waive the excessive deficit procedure to which Hungary has been subject since 2004, and instead suspends the disbursement of structural funds, PM Orbán’s support would swiftly plummet, Véleményvezér speculates. The centrist blog, which has since 2010 become increasingly critical of the right-wing government, notes that even European conservative politicians have recently become wary of PM Orbán. According to a Transylvanian news outlet, the European People’s Party is even considering expelling Fidesz from the centre-right alliance. The rumours were denied by both the the EPP leadership and by Fidesz, whereupon the small Hungarian-Transylvanian news site which broke the story speculated that Mr Orbán is considering leaving the EPP and joining the Conservative EP group (ECR) instead. PM Orbán will now have to walk a tight rope between provoking EU sanctions and abandoning his “freedom fight” against foreign interests, Véleményvezér concludes.

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