An opinion piece arguing for Hungary’s departure from the European Union recently got published in pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet. Its author, political scientist, Tamás Fricz, is a prominent opinion leader within circles in support of the government. Many people have raised their eyebrows at his suggestion, especially as in recent weeks a number of leading politicians of the ruling Fidesz party have made anti-EU remarks. Opposition parties believe that Fricz’s op-ed is not merely a personal opinion, and that the government is in fact preparing Hungary’s exit from the EU.
Tamás Fricz, a research advisor at the government-affiliated Center for Fundamental Rights (Alapjogokért Központ) think tank, published a controversial op-ed a few days ago in pro-government newspaper, Magyar Nemzet. In his article titled: “It’s time to talk about Huxit,” Fricz, one of the leaders of CÖF (Civil Összefogás Fórum – Civil Unity Forum), a pro-government NGO that has held “peace marches” in support of the Orbán administration, argues that it might be worth considering the possibility of Hungary voluntarily and independently leaving the European Union, as it could prove beneficial for the country (especially after the unprecedented coordinated series of attacks from the EU and the West regarding Hungary’s child protection law).
“I know it’s regarded as taboo, but someone has to write the word down, and for the first time not necessarily as a deterrent: Huxit – Hungary’s voluntary, sovereign exit from the EU (along the lines of Brexit).”
According to Fricz, Hungary should consider the possibility of leaving “because the globalist financial elite and the EU institutions they control” are determined to punish and even bring Hungary to an impossible situation. And their ultimate means of doing so, according to Fricz, is to cut off funds due to Hungary.
The political scientist draws a parallel with the departure of Fidesz from the European People Party’s (EPP), as the party left the conservative group after much deliberation, but since it left on its own, Fricz argues, it did so without losing face.
Growing anti-EU voices among governing politicians
The article has sparked massive backlash, primarily because despite Prime Minister Viktor Orbán continuously stating that Hungary is a member of the EU and that there are no plans to leave, recently, several government politicians made comments suggesting a possible voluntary withdrawal of the country’s membership.
Just one month ago, the speaker of the National Assembly, one of the founders of Fidesz and an important ideologist of the party, said in an interview that today he would vote against EU membership.
Speaking about the current state of the European Union, László Kövér said “uppity politicians rubbing in our faces that we would not be accepted into the EU today because of our so-called rule-of-law issues and values and views,” Kövér said he would probably vote against Hungary joining the bloc if the referendum was held today.
Later, Finance Minister, Mihály Varga, said that while he would vote in favor of the country’s EU membership now, by the end of the decade when Hungary will become a net contributor, “the question may take on a new perspective. Especially if the attacks from Brussels on [Hungary’s] choice of values continue.”
Opposition: Gov’t is setting up a Huxit
Several opposition politicians have voiced their opinions on the article, all agreeing that it is in fact a prelude to Hungary’s exit from the EU.
Klára Dobrev, Democratic Coalition’s candidate for prime minister, said that the article was commissioned by Viktor Orbán.
“We know well how Fidesz propaganda works: first an idea is circulated, then several people argue for it, until it becomes an official government goal.”
Dobrev said the stakes of the 2022 elections are whether Hungary will remain in the European Union.
Tímea Szabó, co-leader of the Párbeszéd party, also said the article was “approved from above” and that it marked the start of the campaign to leave the European Union.
“Orbán has been planning to leave the EU for a long time, and now that seemingly they can’t steal billions of euros in EU funding that easily, […] he is accelerating the exit,” Szabó wrote on social media.
Budapest mayor, Gergely Karácsony, the candidate for prime minister of MSZP-Párbeszéd-LMP, also commented on the article, saying that they would not allow Hungary to leave the European Union, and that “Hungary’s European future is served by a change of government, that is what is at stake, and nothing less, even at the primaries.”
In the featured photo illustration: EC President Ursula von der Leyen(right) and PM Viktor Orbán. Photo by Zoltán Fischer/MTI