Regarding Ukraine, the Eurosceptic and pro-Russian Orbán said from the beginning of the war that Kiev and Moscow should work on a mediated solution. As Ukraine's counteroffensive has failed and there has been no sign of a clear Ukrainian victory for almost two years, the feeling of Ukrainian fatigue is growing within the Union.
When he won a fourth term as prime minister in 2022, Orban stressed that Hungary was “our common European future.”
“Orbán is working on an internal revolution,” another EU official said. One of the EU officials quoted above pointed out how Hungary has stepped up its communications game in English, appealing to conservative right-wing voters across the bloc.
In line with Orbán, other far-right leaders such as Marine Le Pen of France and Wilders of the Netherlands have abandoned their talking points about leaving the EU. Like Orbán, they are focused on changing the bloc from within.
The Hungarian prime minister's influence over European politics is expected to increase after European Parliament elections in June, when right-wing and far-right groups are expected to gain popularity and push him closer to the center of power. The far-right and right-wing groups in the European Parliament are expected to gain seats and (power) in the election.
“Hungary never had an alternative, never had the opportunity to leave the EU,” said Judit Varga, an Orbán ally and lawmaker who is expected to lead her Fidesz party’s list in June’s EU election. “And we will be the last member state holding the last pillar when the whole thing collapses.”
Nicholas Vinocur and Jakob Hanke Vela contributed reporting.