In an opinion piece published in the US daily Washington Times, Danube Institute senior fellow Lee Cohen wrote about a debated statement made last year by Tim Montgomerie, advisor of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at an event by the Danube Institute in Budapest, in which he declared that “Britain is preparing for a special relationship with the Orbán government after Brexit.” This comes on the heels of Prime Minister Orbán praising US President Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, when speaking at his year-opening press conference.
Montgomerie’s statement met with quite a controversial response by both the British left and some British media outlets. However, the author of the opinion piece finds the indignation of the latter groups unjustified. Cohen – a fellow at the Danube Institute, thinks the response is “the usual misguided chorus of anti-Hungarian sentiment in the global media.”
According to the author, controversial opinions have also arisen in the case of the “EU attempting to impose its will on Hungary’s media and academic policies.” He added that in many cases Hungary has defended the United Kingdom against the EU. According to the article, Montgomerie is right when he admires Viktor Orbán’s view that “nation matters and that globalisation is often a threat.”
Cohen writes in his opinion piece that those with controversial opinions of Montgomerie’s statements are the same who try to “denigrate the governments of President Trump, President Bolsonaro, Prime Minister Modi and, of course, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for making their respective nations’ sovereignty and prosperity priorities, as any sensible leader would.”
Cohen thinks that the good relationships between these much-criticized strong leaders, who “promote exceptionalism of their nations rather than one world order” and who “find validation in each other’s approaches,” can be much more beneficial to their countries than “carrying the water for supranational organizations like the U.N. or the EU.”
As the Guardian has also reported, in his year-opening press conference, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán praised both US president Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. According to the Hungarian PM, Johnson and Donald Trump are “the most courageous, the most dynamic and the most ready to effect change” of all the politicians in the world today. The PM also praised Johnson’s election victory at length. Hinting at the previous statement made by Montgomerie, the Guardian writes that the admiration is mutual, as the former advisor of Johnson said he expected Britain and Hungary to forge a “special relationship” after Brexit, and praised Orbán’s thinking on the “limits of liberalism.” Despite constant criticism from western media outlets, Montgomerie says Britain can learn a lot from Orbán.
featured photo: Gergely Botár/PM’s Press Office