Hungary: Anti-European Sentiments


The Hungarian Socialist Party has been an adherent of European affiliation and politics from the early 90s. Hungary’s accession to the EU took part under the Socialist government of Péter Medgyessy in 2004.  Committed to European Union, Socialists also propagated the ratification of Lisbon treaty, as early as in the December 2007. Backed by the governing majority and the opposition as well (only 5 MPs voted against it), Hungarian Parliament ratified Lisbon Treaty as the first member of the European Union. In the parliamentary debate, Socialist PM, Ferenc Gyurcsány appreciated the benefits of the treaty, first of all, as a historical opportunity for compromise for the Central European region and its people. As the PM said, European Union can give the political frame where the nations of the region, Serbs, Croats, Romanians and Hungarians etc., can live and work together, i.e. he connected the issue of European integration with the potential for cooperation on the topic of ethnic Hungarians in the neighboring states (as well as Attila Mesterházy did in 2013).  

The MSZP emphasizes the role of Hungary as a part of Europe both in historical and contemporary context (l). According to the MSZP, the institutions and values of the European Union represent the norms and benchmark for the politics of liberal democracy. In their new program, MSZP proposes to govern back Hungary from an in-between status to the European norms. Socialists want to restore the function of democratic institutions, national media and good relations toward foreign investors. They prefer a predictable and cooperative politics toward European countries and European institutions, endeavoring to foster economic relations to the European Union and introducing common European currency as soon as possible.

  1. In his speech on a state of Hungary in March 2013 Mesterházy said that “[f]or [Hungarians] patriotism is a call that we stand for also in Europe.  We stand for it in Europe, as Hungary throughout her history has always been part of Europe.  No freedom fight against Europe shall be waged, but we shall seek to cooperate in alliance in order to effectively represent our national interests!“1
  2. In this text called “Our future is in Europe” the party leader Attila Mesterházy scourged the Eurosceptic conservatives and radicals, and made a promise about “leading Hungary back to Europe, increasing the rate of foreign investments, and creating a proper business environment and just tax system.”2


Jobbik considers itself to be euro-realist rather than eurosceptic party. Positions of its members are framed strongly nationalist rhetoric, refusing the benefits of EU membership and calling for an exit from the European Union. From the beginning, Jobbik have proposed the Europe of Nations conception, a cooperative system of European nation states without any central European institution. They have propagated this idea from its funding declaration, and even rejected to run in EP elections in 2004.  They considered the EU affiliation as “disclaiming the Hungarian self-determination”, and the European Union as “anti-democratic, bureaucratic, central power”. They outline a sad future for the EU membership of Hungary: lagging behind the agrarian countryside, pensioners, employees, while the rich getting richer forcing the country on the way of Latin Americanization. One of the main issues of the party’s 2009 EP campaign and electoral campaign a year later, was the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Jobbik attacks both political sides, and claims MSZP and Fidesz betrayed Hungarian people alike with the yes vote. The radical party sees the treaty as a renouncement of self-determination, first of all the “sell-out of Hungarian soil”.  From the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, Jobbik commemorates “the loss of Hungarian independence”. In their 2010 electorate program Jobbik accuse Brussels, as one of the center of global capitalism besides Washington, for increasing bureaucratic power over European nations with the Lisbon treaty, for preferring individual and liberal values against Greko-Roman traditions and Christian values, and for repressing national interests and rights of Hungarian minorities in neighboring countries. The system of EU institutions is in large part anti-democratic. The vast majority of Union subsidies to Hungary end up in the coffers of multinational corporations that operate here, while most of the remainder is lost to the bottomless pit of political corruption- as the program stated.3

As the party leader, Gábor Vona stated in his speech of the commemoration of the 1848-49 revolution,“If Hungary’s freedom is threatened by the EU, there is a need to fight against the EU which colonizes the country and enslaves Hungarians”.4


2 Our future is in Europe., 15/12/2013. (

3 Radical Change. A guide to Jobbik’s parliamentary electoral manifesto. 2010. p.21. (

4 Vona urges fight against EU which colonizes and enslaves Hungarians., 29.03.2012 (