Hungary exposes Europe to military and political risk under Orban’s rule

Under the Orban government’s stance, decisions must be made to protect NATO’s efficiency and unity and to prevent a further rift in the European Union’s integrity.

Slowing down the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO

The Hungarian prime minister stated that a European alternative to a collective security treaty without U.S. participation must be developed in an interview with Germany’s Die Weltwoche. More than eight months after NATO leaders approved Finland and Sweden’s membership proposal at a summit in Madrid, Hungary has yet to accept their applications to join the transatlantic defense alliance.

The head of the nationalist Fidesz party caucus in parliament, Máté Kocsis, declared last week that a “real debate” had started to take place over the accession of the two nations. The leader of the nationalist Fidesz party caucus in parliament, Máté Kocsis, declared that a “real debate” had begun about the two nations’ admission. Orban claimed that certain members of his party debate the usefulness of admitting countries that propagate falsehoods about Hungary, the rule of law in Hungary, democracy, and life here. He cited the past criticism of Hungary’s record on rule-of-law concerns from Finland and Sweden.

Dual position regarding Ukraine

Europe is losing its identity “in emotional and intellectual dimensions,” according to Orban. He declared he would not want Russia to triumph in Ukraine because this would trigger a more complex situation. Orban ignores the apparent truth that Budapest’s accession to the EU and NATO was made possible by the fall of the Soviet Union. However, these little victories for Hungary did not lead the Hungarian government to uphold democratic values and European ideals. Positive coverage of Orban’s plan was extensively present in Russia. Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has prioritized the deterioration of NATO and the U.S. position in the Euro-Atlantic security system.

Hungary is edging closer to Russia and incorporating the imperial political aspirations of the Kremlin into its foreign policy. Orban’s ideas are increasingly threatening the region.

The European Parliament voted in favor of the interim report on September 15, 2022, urging the EU Council to assess if there was a genuine risk that Hungary would seriously violate the EU’s principles, as stated in Article 7 of the Treaty.

Undermine global effort

Budapest is attempting to undermine the organization. Hungary lacks the military capability to take the lead in forging a European armed force that can compete with NATO. Lowering the United States’ involvement in the collective defense organization would not benefit Budapest, making it seem pointless. As a result, the only explanation for such actions is an effort to advance Russian narratives in Europe to secure Moscow’s support for Budapest on a political and financial level and in the UN Security Council. This is more plausible regarding Hungary obstructing the approval of sanctions packages against Russia, ignoring military aid to Ukraine, and reducing NATO’s influence in Europe.

Events in the Balkans, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Ukraine showed severe weaknesses in the European security system and its inefficiency due to political divisions, reaffirming the United States’ pivotal role in world affairs.

It is considered impossible for Europe to thwart American control over NATO’s staff bodies in order to build a viable European armed force. The general dismantling of NATO and its replacement with an EU staff structure is another option. The Baltic States, Poland, and the Czech Republic would not be confident in a model with zero U.S. involvement because they understand that any agreements with the sources of military threats in Europe (Russia and China) for some of the region’s elites would be a compromise on the issue of ensuring the sovereignty of the countries that have joined the EU since the fall of the USSR.

Army of Europe

This concept is viewed as unfeasible because the European Union lacks the capacity and resources to establish a joint armed force. It is unthinkable to anticipate any concerted military action on the part of the entire EU, especially outside the union, given the current state of relations inside the EU and the grave tensions between its various states and groupings of members.

The idea put forth by Angela Merkel ten years ago that Europeans should decide their own future created a number of issues, one of which being security, particularly military issues. The Bundestag is currently discussing how the chancellor’s opposition to NATO’s further eastward expansion contributed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Hungary will have a window of opportunity to carry out its territorial aspirations if a European system of collective defense hypothetically replaces NATO. On Day 1 of Russia’s full-scale invasion, readiness for such a move was seen in Romania and the movement of military equipment toward the Ukrainian border.

Are such allies necessary?

Given that the NATO Treaty does not allow for the expulsion of an ally, Hungary’s ongoing membership in NATO while courting the Russian government appears to be a significant issue. Our estimations suggest that all intelligence-sharing activities with Budapest within the scope of the Alliance should end due to the Orban regime’s close ties to Russia. In a case of escalation, judgments must also be made to minimize risks when dealing with Hungary, especially in other contexts.

Image via Péter Szijjártó’s Facebook page

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