Last modified on March 17, 2024, at 23:34

Viktor Orbán

Viktor Orbán

Viktor Mihály Orbán (born May 31, 1963, in Székesfehérvár) is a conservative Hungarian politician and served as Prime Minister of Hungary between 1998 and 2002 and again since May 29, 2010. He is a member and leader of the Fidesz party, which is socially conservative and moderately-Euroskeptic. In his earlier years, Orbán ensured that Hungary joined NATO in 1999 despite Russia's opposition. Orbán endorsed Trump early in 2016, the first leader in Europe to do so.

Since starting his second term as prime minister in 2010, Orbán has served as a strong voice for maintaining traditional conservative values in Europe, supporting national sovereignty and identity, and opposing the globalist, one-world agenda of the EU and other entities.[1] He united with Poland's ruling PiS party to that end,[2] and his approval ratings are higher than those of his globalist opponents.[3] Orbán is strongly hated by the Left for his conservative policies and his success at implementing them.[4]

Second tenure as Prime Minister

Fidesz, led by Orbán, saw a landslide victory in the elections on April 11, 2010, winning over 50% of the vote.[5] In the runoff elections held later that month, Fidesz secured a two-thirds majority in parliament, enough to change the constitution.[6] According to The New York Times, Orbán decided to use his party's super-majority to enact major changes rather than have a minimalist agenda.[7]

Orbán again won a two-thirds majority in parliament in the April 2014 elections.[8] However, Fidesz lost its two-thirds majority after a by-election defeat in February 2015.[9]

Orbán faced a difficult re-election in 2018,[10] in which he emphasized the issues of immigration and sovereignty.[11] Despite this, Orbán did significantly better than expected and won a supermajority a third time in a row.[12] After the election results became known, Orbán stated his intention of pushing forward with his conservative and nationalist agenda,[13] as well as to preserve Hungary's Christian culture,[14] and he gave a strongly conservative speech outlining his fourth-term agenda.[15]

Adopting a new constitution

While Communism nominally ended in Hungary in 1989, the country's old constitution – adopted in 1949 and based on the 1936 Soviet Union constitution – remained in effect despite some constitutional amendments.[16] Among other necessary reasons for changing this constitution was the fact that Hungarians would now be able to write their own constitution and mark a clear break from the Soviet era.[16]

The new constitution,[17] which was passed in 2011 and went into effect in January 2012, promoted conservative and Christian values on numerous topics. For example, the preamble recognized Christianity's major role in Hungary's history, promoted family values, and condemned Hungary's occupation under the Third Reich and the USSR as well as the 1949 constitution.[17] In addition, the constitution instituted the forint as Hungary's official currency (Article K), called for protecting Hungary's culture and language (preamble, Article H),[18] recognized marriage as between one man and one woman (Article L), and recognized that human life begins at conception (Article II).[19][20] Liberals and the European establishment criticized Orbán for these constitutional changes.[21]

Strong economic growth

Orbán was recognized for turning Hungary around after taking power, getting it out of the negative effects of the Recession of 2008 and improving its finances.[22][23] In the last quarter of 2018, the Hungarian GDP grew 5% – an outlier compared to other Eastern European countries[24][25][26] – and wages saw strong growth.[25][27][28] Unemployment fell to a record low.[29]

In 2019, Orbán stated that Hungary's economy no longer relied on EU funding.[30]

Response to the European migrant crisis

Orbán gives a victory speech after a 2016 referendum on immigration. The card in front of him reads "Let us defend Hungary!"
Hungary's border fence with Serbia
See also: European migrant crisis

In 2015, Hungary was overrun by refugees passing through the country, and it has the largest per capita number of asylum applications of any European country in 2015.[31] In response, Orbán took several actions,[32] including building a border barrier along the border with Serbia[33] and Croatia.[34] The fence was so effective that illegal immigration levels dropped to levels seen before the crisis began,[35] and by September 2017, illegal immigration levels had dropped by 99% since 2015.[36] In April 2017, the Hungarian government completed construction of a second border fence, one with high-tech features, on the Serbian border.[37] Unlike most other European countries, Hungary's leadership has taken a more conservative right-wing, common sense approach to the immigration crisis.[38][39] In March 2017, the Hungarian government refused a Swedish request to let 5,000 asylum seekers into its borders.[40] In May 2018, the Hungarian government under Orbán rejected a European Union-African migration declaration that disproportionately favored the African countries and "further inspires migration."[41] Hungary's government has also criticized the United Nations's Global Compact on Migration,[42] and it withdrew from it in July 2018.[43]

On September 15, 2015, the same day the Hungarian government closed its border with Serbia, several laws came into effect in the nation. The laws made illegal immigrants in Hungary subject to criminal charges and made it illegal to damage the nation's border fence.[44] On September 21, 2017, the Hungarian parliament voted to give the army the ability to use non-lethal force on migrants.[45] In July 2016, Hungary enacted a law allowing the army to push migrants back to the border if they were found 8 kilometers (4.97 miles) or less from the border.[46]

Orbán stated that Hungary would admit all Europeans fleeing from their respective countries' liberal and globalist policies.[47] As Orbán himself noted, Hungary's policies likely saved all of Europe from an even greater and more catastrophic migrant crisis.[48] He also stated that his conservative migration and family policies helped Hungary avoid the culture war being fought in Western Europe.[49] According to Politico in September 2017, he "won" the argument on immigration policy.[50] Despite this, the left-wing mainstream media strongly opposed his migration policies.[51]

In June 2018, Hungary's parliament passed a series of laws cracking down on individuals and entities that aid illegal immigration, and it passed a constitutional amendment banning the settlement of an "alien population" in the country.[52] In September 2018, the EU parliament voted to move forward with sanctions on Hungary because of the Stop Soros laws along with his government's other conservative policies.[53] Orbán's government fought attempts by the EU to weaken its sovereignty.[54]

Campaigning on an anti-illegal immigration platform, Orbán performed strongly in the 2019 European Parliament elections.[55]

Opposition to George Soros

Orbán is known for his opposition to George Soros, who himself is from Hungary.[56] He strongly opposed the ultra-liberal Central European University (founded and funded by Soros) and on March 29, 2017, announced a new law which could close it.[57] He stated that it was cheating students and breaking rules by awarding both a Hungarian and an American diploma, despite the university having no U.S. presence.[58][59] He also opposed George Soros due to his efforts by supporting the massive immigration from Muslim nations into Europe.[58]

On April 10, 2017, Hungary enacted a law tightening its standards for universities and thus threatening CEU's existence.[60][61] Orbán passed another law in June 2017 ordering foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with a certain revenue or higher to register as a "foreign-supported organisation," something thus targeting the NGOs funded by Soros.[62] He proposed "Stop Soros" legislation to crack down on NGOs that actively support illegal immigration.[63] The Hungarian parliament passed the "Stop Soros" legislation in June 2018.[52] Soros's Central European University stopped offering courses to asylum seekers because of the law.[64]

Orbán started a new campaign against Soros in September 2017 by distributing a questionnaire to Hungarians so they could express their thoughts on Soros.[65] According to the Hungarian government, over 2.3 million people sent responses.[66] The Hungarian government began a new campaign against Soros and Jean-Claude Juncker in February 2019.[67]

After Orbán's landslide election victory in 2018, Soros's Central European University,[68] along with his Open Society Foundations,[69][70] considered leaving Hungary, though the former ultimately announced it would stay.[71] In May 2018, the Open Society Foundations announced they would leave the country,[72] and it moved to Berlin later that year.[73] The Hungarian government continued to believe that Soros had not ceased trying to advance his left-wing agenda in the country.[74] Like other of Orbán's actions, his policy on the CEU was attacked by the EU bureaucracy, and Hungary was pressured into rescinding the policy.[75]

While liberals claim that Orbán's government is somehow "anti-Semitic" because of its opposition to Soros, many figures including liberal Jews have noted that Hungary's government under Orbán took pro-Israel and pro-Jewish stances.[76]

NATO war in Ukraine

See also: NATO war in Ukraine

Discussing the NATO war in Ukraine in September 2023, Orban told a radio audience that the conflict "is not our war," but rather a "Slavic fraternal war between two countries.”[77] For this reason, he said other nations should strive to "isolate it, separate it, prevent it from spreading further." Orban acknowledged, however, that Budapest and the rest of the Western world have markedly different views on the situation, with the latter intent on globalizing the conflict and seeing it as their war. This approach Orban said is mistaken as Western nations are risking severe consequences without having a clear goal.[78]

In February 2024 Orban observed, "The war will not end...Europe’s burden will become heavier, because financial support for Ukraine will decrease due to disputes in the US amid the presidential election...Supporting the Ukrainians has a huge political price...Farmers are revolting all over Europe, and almost nobody believes in the victory of the Ukrainians."[79]

Culture and family

Orbán and his government have pursued strongly pro-family policies.[80] In 2017, he hosted the annual conference of the conservative World Congress of Families.[81] In his fourth term starting in 2018, Orbán made solving Hungary's demographic problems a priority for his agenda,[82] and his government has pushed for socially cohesive solutions rather than simply importing foreigners to increase the population.[83]

Orbán's pro-family policies have been effective.[84] By 2018, his pro-family policies saw abortions fall by a third, marriages rise, and divorces become less frequent.[85][86][87] The country's fertility rate for married women also began to rise again.[88] Marriage levels in the first nine months of 2019 reached the highest level since 1990, and the country saw the most September weddings since 1979.[87] Orbán's government began a formal consultation with Hungarian citizens for input on how the solve Hungary's demographic decline.[86][89] Additionally, Orbán's government criticized pro-abortion policies.[90] In January 2020, Hungary announced it would offer free in vitro fertilization procedures to help increase the country's birthrate.[91] On the other hand, some social conservatives criticized Orbán's government, along with other European conservatives, for not pushing hard enough for pro-life policies at the European and international levels.[92]

In August 2018, the Hungarian government moved to ban "gender studies" programs at state-run universities due to not having any real purpose and favoring "ideology rather than science,"[93] and the decision was made official in October 2018.[94] In December 2018, Orbán's government, along with Poland, killed a proposed EU statement speaking favorably of "LGBTQI" people.[95][96] In October 2020, the Hungarian government criticized a children's homosexual propaganda book, stating that the book was just that,[97] and it later required disclaimers for pro-homosexual books.[98] In November 2020, Orbán's government proposed a constitutional amendment banning homosexual adoptions and protecting children from gender theory.[99] This amendment – which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman – was passed on December 15, 2020.[100]

In February 2021, the Hungarian government announced it would end the income tax for individuals under 25.[101]

Orbán has promoted the arts as a means to promote Hungarian culture.[102] His government also took greater control of the university system to promote conservative values.[103][104]

In June 2021, the Hungarian parliament passed an anti-pedophilia law that also protected minors from content promoting the homosexual agenda.[105] Orbán strongly defended the law in the face of attacks from globalists and the Left.[106] In July 2021, the EU began legal proceedings against Hungary over the law, along with Poland for similar pro-family policies.[107] Orbán announced he would hold a referendum over the law.[108]


In addition to supporting a border fence along Hungary's border, Orbán has voiced solidarity with other EU nations, such as Poland, for defying the EU on various issues.[109] The governments of Poland and Hungary worked together to counter the EU.[2] When French President Emmanuel Macron fired his ambassador to Hungary for speaking highly of Orbán's migration policy, his government chose to honor the ambassador.[110] Hungary's government under Orbán has voiced opposition to punishing the United Kingdom for its 2016 Brexit vote.[111] He has spoken highly of the UK's decision to leave the EU despite saying Hungary would not follow because of its economic dependency on the international organization,[112] and he has blamed the EU for creating the conditions that led to the British people choosing to exit the EU.[113] Orbán has voiced skepticism toward sanctions on Russia or Belarus.[114]

In May 2018, Orbán, along with two other EU member-states, blocked a proposed EU motion to condemn U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,[115] and he sent an envoy to the celebration of the opening of the U.S.'s new embassy.[116]

In August 2019, Orbán's government announced it would investigate social media political censorship in Europe.[117] In 2019, Hungary fined Facebook for falsely claiming its services are free.[118] In January 2021, Orbán's government announced it would act to prevent anti-conservative and anti-Christian Big Tech censorship in Hungary,[119] and Orbán subsequently warned of Big Tech censorship.[120][121]

Orbán's government has criticized the Euro currency.[122]

Orbán's government moved to increase military spending and modernize its armed forces.[123]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Orbán successfully kept the number of infections low while continuing to respect the rule of law.[124] He took common-sense border security measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus into Hungary from other countries.[125] He also provided government aid for families.[126]

Political views

Orbán takes strong stands against mass immigration and George Soros and for national sovereignty and cultural Christian values.[127][128][129][130][121] He is a nationalist and strongly opposes globalism as its supporters want mass migrants and the abolition of national identity, something he strongly voiced in a March 2018 speech.[131] He believes that Islamization is real and occurring in Europe because of mass migration and open borders.[132] He is a critic of multiculturalism[133] and Communism.[134] For his 2017 Christmas message, Orbán stated that "Christianity is culture and civilization" and that "we love our country, our nation, our family, Hungarian culture and European civilization."[135] In February 2018, Orbán stated that "Christianity is Europe's last hope" and that Europhiles and other liberal elites "opened the way to the demise of Christian culture and the spreading of Islam."[22][136] Orbán voiced strong support for an illiberal Christian democracy in a July 2018 speech in Romania, arguing that Western European countries had acted undemocratically and criticizing the leftist "1968 elite."[137] Orbán has called for an international alliance to oppose mass migration and protect Christian culture,[138] and he has supported persecuted Christians abroad.[139] He is critical of the homosexual agenda.[140] Orbán's government has spoken out against globalist ideology.[141]

Orbán is one of the most outspoken opponents to the European migrant crisis and calls for a stronger border defense in Hungary, he is also a defender of national interests and values. Unlike most other European heads-of-government, Orbán has taken a more conservative right-wing, common sense approach to the immigration crisis,[38][142] and he remained committed to protecting Hungary's demographic composition.[143] He has criticized the European Union[144] and has argued that the EU's policies and attitudes favor terrorists.[145] In addition to criticizing the EU for holding Marxist values,[146] he has also criticized supporters of a "United States of Europe" for intentionally supporting and enabling mass migration to Europe in order to create a "post-Christian and post-national" state.[147] Orbán has warned against EU plans to take away border security obligations from its member nations,[148] and he has criticized excessive EU integration.[149] Despite this, Orbán opposes leaving the EU.[150] His government has also criticized the United Nations for its open borders immigraton policies, among the organization's other policies,[151] stating that "national interest comes first."[152]

Orbán has stressed that the responsibility for defending Hungary lies with Hungary rather than the EU or NATO and has stated that "a nation which is unable to protect its country is not worthy of it."[153]

Orbán looks highly upon former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,[127] and he has also spoken highly of Boris Johnson.[154] He became the first leader of an EU member state to endorse Donald Trump for U.S. President in 2016.[155] Orbán has spoken positively of President Trump, stating that he speaks straightforwardly and that he and Trump agree on numerous issues,[156] and he endorsed Trump's 2020 re-election campaign.[157] His administration has cast itself as a "natural ally" of the U.S.[158] Orbán and his government have spoken highly of Matteo Salvini, Italy's conservative immigration minister,[159] and he has met with French leaders Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour.[160][161] He also has a good relationship with Israel and its prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[162] Orbán sent a letter of congratulations to German Conservative politician Horst Seehofer on his re-election as leader of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria.[163] He has spoken critically of Joe Biden,[164] Hillary Clinton, and globalist EU politicians[165] such as Emmanuel Macron.[166] Orbán's government has criticized Sweden for its leftist policies.[167] He has called for having the establishment European People's Party work with conservative-populists.[168] In 2019, Orbán honored conservative British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton.[169] In August 2021, conservative commentator Tucker Carlson visited Hungary and interviewed Orbán.[170] In March 2021, Orbán's Fidesz left the European People’s Party,[171] and it considered creating a political group with more conservative parties,[172] something Orbán worked to accomplish.[173]

Orbán has discussed reintroducing the death penalty in Hungary,[174] something not allowed under EU law, though he has denied plans to actually do so.[175]



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