Amid growing pressure, the Fidesz-led government has yet to condemn or even take a stance at all in connection with the events accompanying the probably-rigged Belorussian elections. What is more, none of the governing alliance’s youth organizations signed an EPP statement dealing with the violence and the questionable results.
Up until now, the government didn’t disclose anything about its stance with the Belorussian events. Government sources, for example, didn’t reply to liberal weekly HVG’s question whether an official congratulations to Lukashenko had already been sent out to Minsk.
In addition, both Fidesz’s youth organization Fidelitas and the Christian Democrat’s (KDNP) similar body (IKSZ), refused to sign the European People’s Party’s (EPP) youth organization’s statement. The YEPP’s communique not only firmly condemns the “arrests of peaceful protesters as well as the excessive force used by the military” but also asks that the “result, reflecting the choice of the people, be published by the Electoral Commission” and calls “for a repeat election to be held with international observers present to ensure that democracy, rule of law and freedom are adhered to.”
Moreover, there is growing speculation in foreign outlets that it could be the Orbán government to block potential sanctions. Many refer to Viktor Orbán’s recent meeting with Lukashenko, when the Hungarian PM urged the EU to abolish all the sanctions (as think-tank Political Capital mentions, most of which the EU had lifted in 2016, only the arms embargo and the ban on those taking part in the annihilation of four of Lukashenko’s opposers are still in effect).
In a recent post published after a telephone talk with his Latvian counterpart, the Foreign Minister also seems to confirm his opposition to the sanctions. Péter Szijjártó has called for “European decisions based on dialogue with Belarus that would not impact further relations or hinder the EU’s Eastern Partnership program.”
Meanwhile, there is growing domestic criticism of Lukashenko and pressure on the government to take a stance. Liberal Momentum already organized a demonstration in front of the Belorussian embassy in Budapest, while an increasing number of politicians, including, for example, the aforementioned Momentum ones, Democratic Coalition MEP Klára Dobrev and Jobbik MEP Márton Gyöngyösi, both condemned Lukashenko.
The Fidesz-led government has come under criticism multiple times for its relations with autocratic leaders such as Chinese Xi Jinping, Azeri Ilham Aliyev, Russian Vladimir Putin, and Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. And going against the joint EU position wouldn’t be something unheard of, given Hungary’s vetos on statements criticizing Israel.
The EU’s foreign ministers are expected to discuss the sanctions on Friday.
featured image via MTI/EPA/Taccjana Zenkovics