Hungary’s ruling party, Fidesz, is once again making headlines with a new campaign targeting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. This marks the first time that Fidesz has made Von der Leyen a personal target in a campaign, similar to their previous campaign against her predecessor Jean-Claude Juncker. The campaign posters for the upcoming European parliamentary elections were unveiled overnight and feature Von der Leyen alongside Alex Soros, the son of Hungarian-born liberal billionaire George Soros, who is frequently targeted by hostility from Fidesz.
The slogan on the posters reads: “Let’s not dance as they play.” This has sparked criticism from some who see the central role that George Soros plays in Fidesz propaganda as evidence of anti-Semitism, which the party strongly denies. Similar billboards featuring Juncker alongside George Soros drew a rebuke from Brussels in 2019, leading Fidesz to remove them in response to the threat of expulsion from the European Parliament. However, this did not stop Fidesz from eventually leaving the European People’s Party (EPP) two years later.
Hungary’s government is seeking to unblock billions of euros in EU funds suspended by Brussels due to Fidesz’s policies. Orban has been vocal about his opposition to the current European model built in Brussels and emphasizes that Hungary “must say no” to it. The country’s stance on Russia and skepticism towards plans to offer Ukraine a path to join the EU will be a major topic at the next EU summit in mid-December. In fact, Orban sent out a survey recently asking Hungarians whether more EU funds should be allocated to Ukraine or if it should be granted membership status – which highlights Hungary’s position as being most sympathetic towards Russia among all EU countries and its reservations about Ukraine joining the bloc.