On Warsaw’s adoption of the “Budapest Model”

Mudde_kaczynski_468x170Cas Muddle at Eurozine:

There is no denying that 2015 was a great year for Viktor Orbán, the illiberal prime minister of Hungary, who made the most of Europe’s tragedies to transform himself from political pariah to ideological leader. While Time chose his nemesis, German chancellor Angela Merkel, as Person of the Year, driven by convention and wishful thinking it seems, Politico declared “the conservative subversive” the most influential person in the European Union.

Although Merkel remains much more powerful than Orbán within Europe, I would still argue that 2015 went to the Mighty Magyar. While Merkel was at the centre of both major crises last year, i.e. the Greek economic crisis and the refugee crisis, she was only partially successful in pushing through her position – both times being abandoned by several EU leaders and being undermined from within the Union, particularly by her increasingly (far) right Bavarian “ally”, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

In contrast, Orbán started the year in the margins, being increasingly criticized, though never sanctioned, for his illiberal policies in Hungary. When he used the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, in January 2015, to start an ideological attack on multiculturalism in Europe, he was scolded. Similarly, his authoritarian stand against refugees in Hungary initially received more critique than support, particularly when he started to build a fence, but this changed quickly.

more here.