Project Brexit

Hungary

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President

Prime Minister

János Áder (Fidesz party, since 2012)

Viktor Orbán (Fidesz party, since 2010)

Population 9,819,463
Size 93,030 km2 (57,906 sq mi)
MEPs 21 (joined the EU in 2004)
Next presidential election

Next legislative election

2022

2018

Presidency of the Council July – December 2024
Last meeting with Theresa May 9 November 2016
Brexit priorities Hungary and the UK are close allies and the Hungarian Government has stressed it does not want to punish the British for voting to leave. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has also been very critical of the EU and seeks to retrieve some powers from Brussels back to Member States.

One of Hungary’s main priorities in the negotiations is to protect the rights of over 200,000  citizens living in the UK. It wants Hungarian nationals’ working permits to be renewed after the UK leaves the bloc.

Hungary also has an interest in the financial settlement between the UK and the EU, as it is a big receiver of EU funds, which might be impacted by the UK leaving the bloc.

The two countries have shown willingness to strengthen their relationship, having recently set up a British Hungarian Business Council to promote investment from British companies in Hungary.

What Mr Orbán said on Brexit 27 June 2016
Brexit was a result of “uncertainty, paralysis … of slowly being unable to feel at home in Europe.”21 October 2016“Hungary definitely would not like to see any revenge on the British. We are a democratic country and we accept that democratically another country’s population decided to leave.”

9 November 2016

“So it is in our interest that the trade aspect of British-Hungarian relations should continue to be open and free in the future.”

26 January 2017

“There will be the constant danger in the future in the European Union, a kind of temptation following the British that getting out of the European Union… could result in a better position for you than staying in the European Union,”

Hungary’s priorities The Prime Minister indicated after his re-election that his focus would be on pursuing national interests.

The Government’s priorities are to lift the EU’s punitive measures against Russia and to tackle immigration by holding immigrants in detention centres to stop them traveling through Europe.

The Hungarian Government has been criticised by other EU leaders and institutions for its 2011 media law and newly introduced constitution. In addition, protests have erupted following the introduction of tough laws targeting foreign-backed NGOs and higher education institutions, which would lead to the closure of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. All these policies have put the Hungarian Government at odds with Brussels, where the European Parliament decided to call on the European Commission to trigger Article 7 that would suspend Hungary’s voting rights in the EU. On 13 July, the Commission decided to launch the infringement procedure against Hungary as regards to both of these issues.  

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