Hungary’s hardman PM Viktor Orban will discuss his country’s tense relationship with the EU when he meets Bulgarian counterpart Bokyo Borisov today.
Over the past five years, Mr Orban’s reliance on nationalist, right-leaning rhetoric has become increasingly problematic for the European Commission, with tensions continuing since the beginning of Bulgaria’s EU presidency last month.
Most recently, Orban decried EU intervention in Poland’s domestic affairs, drawing the ire of Chancellor Merkel among others. Concerns over Polish political freedoms prompted an EU legal response, which Hungary threatened to veto if passed.
Also opposing open-border migration, Hungary is an obstacle to Bulgaria’s EU governance. Hungary refuses to accept migrant quotas, going so far as to build a border fence. Despite pressure from Brussels, Orban remains committed to protecting his country from so-called “moral imperialism”.
Borisov will try to diffuse tensions today, but elections on April 8 will decide Hungary’s EU relations. Orban’s Fidesz Party is polling with a strong majority, campaigning on anti-EU rhetoric. An Orban victory has the potential to shake Hungary’s EU membership, right when the bloc is struggling for unity.
Bibi contributes to our analysis of European affairs for The Daily Brief. She also serves as a copy editor for the publication.