Hungary’s ruling party has taken aim at European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen with a campaign that features posters for the upcoming European parliamentary elections. The posters show Von der Leyen alongside Alex Soros, the son of Hungarian-born liberal billionaire George Soros. The campaign’s slogan reads: “Let’s not dance as they play.” This move is similar to the party’s campaign against Von der Leyen’s predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker, which drew criticism from Brussels. Some consider the central role George Soros plays in Fidesz propaganda as evidence of anti-Semitism, though Fidesz strongly denies this. Similar billboards showing Juncker alongside George Soros in 2019 drew a rebuke from Brussels, and Fidesz removed them as the strongest group in the center-right of the European Parliament threatened to expel the Hungarian party. Two years later, Fidesz left the EPP.
Prime Minister Orban and his government have been working to unblock billions of euros in EU funds suspended by Brussels because of Fidesz’s policies. Orban has made it clear that Hungary “must say no to the current European model built in Brussels” and has shown sympathy for Russia while expressing skepticism about plans to offer Ukraine a path to join the EU. This is expected to be a major topic of the next EU summit in mid-December. Orban sent a survey to Hungarians on whether the EU should allocate more funds to Ukraine or grant it membership. This puts Hungary in the spotlight in the EU and could have significant implications for the country’s relationship with the bloc.