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Viktor Orbán loses bet against Jean-Claude Juncker

June 30th, 2014
A left wing daily claims Cameron and Orbán could not understand the way the Union works and gained nothing by opposing Juncker, but while Great Britain is still an important partner for Angela Merkel, Hungary cannot expect such attention. A pro-government daily examines the domestic motives behind Cameron’s stance and says even by losing, he achieved victory in the home arena. The same can be said of Viktor Orbán, he suggests, who must stick to his “freedom fight” not to lose face among Fidesz supporters.

In Népszabadság, Balázs Pócs claims David Cameron and Viktor Orbán do not understand that “blackmail and sulking” will achieve nothing when 28 members have to come to a common decision and “having fought to the last” is meagre consolation. The problem, as the author sees it, is not the failure in itself but the damage it might cause to the citizens of their respective countries. Cameron and Orbán lost more than the fight over Juncker: from now on they are seen as “troublemakers”. Yet while Cameron can afford some conflict with the EU, and is regarded by Angela Merker as an important partner who must be appeased, Hungary can expect no such deference, Pócs asserts.

In Magyar Nemzet, on the other hand, István Pataky insists there have been important gains both for Cameron and Orbán. Berlin and Paris still prefer picking mediocre leaders so that they can decide on important issues among themselves, and Juncker fits this mould perfectly. Cameron had to project a more active image at home after the British EP-elections had been won by UKIP, and according to the polls, he succeeded in convincing the public that he put up a good fight against the odds. Viktor Orbán is in a somewhat similar situation, the analyst says, even though Jobbik is far less a threat than UKIP in Britain. Hungarians “regard the EU with scepticism to say the least”, he claims, and Orbán would have lost credibility in the eyes of Fidesz voters by supporting Juncker, who stands for everything Orbán has repeatedly criticized in Europe.

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