How far will the Hungarian Prime Minister and "Putin's friend" Viktor Orbán go in his support for Russia, and can Budapest pay for its pro-Russian policy with EU membership.
Political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko told about this in an interview with TSN.ua.
Economic motivation of friendship with Putin
According to Fesenko, the motivation for cooperation between Hungary and Russia is economic.
"Hungary's economic interests, their economic selfishness, are at work. They receive Russian gas and oil at a price not as high as other partners. There is also Orbán's personal sympathy for Putin and personal connections between them. Orbán's position is particularly anti-European in terms of values." - says the expert.
Hungary still supports anti-Russian sanctions
Fesenko drew attention to the fact that the EU recently adopted the eighth package of sanctions against Russia.
And Hungary, although somewhat slowed down and reduced this package, supported it.
And all other sanctions packages were supported by Hungary.
"Yes, they make certain exceptions or postponements for themselves. For example, regarding oil. But nevertheless, they are forced to agree to the EU's joint sanctions policy against Russia," the political scientist notes.
"It's the same with NATO. They're slowing down the entry of Finland and Sweden, but it will happen anyway. They won't be able to go against it. Hungary is forced to stay in line with the common European policy - both in terms of punishing Russia and supporting Ukraine," added Fesenko .
Internal contradictions between Brussels and Budapest
According to Fesenko, there are internal differences between Hungary and the EU.
In particular, Brussels is concerned about the violation of the standards of democracy and the rule of law in Hungary.
And this, according to the expert, worries Brussels no less than the relationship between Orban and Putin.
That is why the EU uses the most effective tool - the economic aid of the European Union to Hungary.
"While it works. I do not rule out that if the situation in Hungary does not change, and this personal, populist, anti-European position of Orbán continues to manifest itself, then the question will arise. Not now, but later. About excluding Hungary from the EU or NATO," says Fesenko.
Can Hungary be expelled from the EU?
Volodymyr Fesenko does not rule out such a scenario, but draws attention to the fact that after Brexit, the EU is sensitive to the topic of EU unity.
"And they do not want to create a negative precedent themselves. Although, perhaps sooner or later it will have to be done - to strengthen internal discipline. And there may be such a scenario when Hungarians, and not Orbán, will be warned that in case of appropriate actions by the authorities, Hungary may be excluded from the EU. While they do not want to go to such an extreme scenario," the political scientist notes.
Will Orban himself dare to "break" with Brussels
In his opinion, Orban himself will not agree to leave the EU, even under pressure from Moscow - at least now and in the near future.
After all, in case of leaving the EU, the Hungarian Prime Minister will find himself in a difficult economic situation, many of his projects will simply stop working.
"It does not have a common border with Russia. This is an important point. Now it receives Russian gas and oil, because the European Union's joint agreements with the Russian Federation are working. But Europe, even through energy blackmail, made its decision to give up Russian gas. I think the same applies to oil will be a similar decision. If Orbán takes such an adventurous step, he himself will find himself in isolation. And it will create a lot of problems for him - from logistical to economic and political," Fesenko concluded.
We will remind that Viktor Orban proposed to cancel all sanctions against Russia.
He stated that the alleged sanctions against the Russian Federation hinder the economic development of the European Union.
The EU changes the voting rules so that Hungary cannot fence off the Russian Federation and does not interfere with helping Ukraine
Hungary is against introducing sanctions against the Russian Patriarch Kirill
Which European countries do not help Ukraine and why: an economist's explanation
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