Analyst: Orbán can reap political benefit from Brexit


Although the Brexit vote and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation might have short-term negative impacts for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, growing Euroscepticism could bode well for Orbán’s political future, Edit Zgut, an analyst at Political Capital, told the Budapest Business Journal after Friday’s developments.

“In the short-term, the Hungarian head of government faces negative consequences as a result of Brexit and, especially, Cameron’s resignation, as he lost an important ally in promoting national sovereignty at the union’s negotiating table,” Zgut said.

However, she added, if “Euroscepticism becomes significantly more prominent, in the mid-term – possibly as soon as within one-to-two years – as a result of the strengthening of anti-EU parties, Orbán (pictured) might gain further influence on the continent as a Eurosceptic leader”.

Zgut noted that the Hungarian government does not really want to leave the European Union, but said that it benefits from a Eurosceptic stance. She said this is the reason for the government to call a referendum in autumn that would allow Hungarians to show their opposition to the EU plan to make countries shelter a certain quota of asylum seekers.

“Despite fiercely anti-EU rhetoric, the Hungarian government is well aware of the fact that isolation for Hungary would make little sense on the economic level, since Hungary is a net beneficiary of that integration,” Zgut said. “The Hungarian government cannot allow itself to openly promote Hunxit or anti-EU sentiments, but with the mandatory quota referendum it can continue its freedom fight against Brussels.”

The analyst noted that the Hungarian government “has already sought to link Brexit with this referendum on the rhetorical level, saying that British people have been fed up with the EU’s migration policy and Brussels could not defend them from migrants”.

In fact, Zgut said, “Pro-Brexit forces have been campaigning mainly against Eastern European migrants, not refugees, so this is a question of free movement, not common refugee policy.”

Zgut said that governing party Fidesz could be using the issue of Brexit “as a tool for its own aspirations”, adding that the “crisis situation is also useful for the government to divert attention from domestic corruption scandals”. 

Paks II Work 'Rumbling Ahead,' Says Szijjártó Power

Paks II Work 'Rumbling Ahead,' Says Szijjártó

Hungary Solar Capacity Climbs Over 6,700 MW Government

Hungary Solar Capacity Climbs Over 6,700 MW

New Tenants at Academia Offices Office Market

New Tenants at Academia Offices

Visitor Numbers, Guest Nights Climb in H1 Tourism

Visitor Numbers, Guest Nights Climb in H1


Producing journalism that is worthy of the name is a costly business. For 27 years, the publishers, editors and reporters of the Budapest Business Journal have striven to bring you business news that works, information that you can trust, that is factual, accurate and presented without fear or favor.
Newspaper organizations across the globe have struggled to find a business model that allows them to continue to excel, without compromising their ability to perform. Most recently, some have experimented with the idea of involving their most important stakeholders, their readers.
We would like to offer that same opportunity to our readers. We would like to invite you to help us deliver the quality business journalism you require. Hit our Support the BBJ button and you can choose the how much and how often you send us your contributions.