The ruling party of Hungary, Fidesz, has stirred controversy with a new campaign against European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen. This is 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, which angered Brussels. Overnight, billboards for the upcoming European parliamentary elections were unveiled featuring Von der Leyen alongside Alex Soros, the son of Hungarian-born liberal billionaire George Soros, who is a common target of 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. However, Fidesz strongly denies any accusations of anti-Semitism. Billboards showing Juncker alongside Soros drew a rebuke from Brussels in 2019, leading Fidesz to remove them in response to the threat of expulsion from the European Parliament.
The Hungarian government is currently seeking to unblock billions of euros in EU funds suspended by Brussels due to Fidesz’s policies. Prime Minister Viktor 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 major topics at the next EU summit in mid-December.
As part of its stance on these issues, Fidesz sent out a survey asking Hungarians whether they believe more funds should be allocated to Ukraine or if it should be granted membership into the EU. This move reinforces Hungary’s position as being most sympathetic towards Russia and highlights its reservations about Ukraine’s potential membership within the EU bloc.