US media is reporting that a new survey has found Hungarian voters from the ruling Fidesz party share overwhelmingly positive views of China while opposition voters are expressing pessimism and concern. According to an RFE/RL report:
July 24, 2022 Ever since Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban returned to power in 2010, Budapest has built a closer relationship with Beijing and opened the door for increased Chinese investment and influence inside the Central European country. Despite several scandals and controversies during that span, a new poll shows that support for China is growing, with a majority of Hungarian voters saying they approve of rising Chinese influence in the country. The survey by the Budapest-based Central and Eastern European Center for Asian Studies (CEECAS) found that China generally has a positive image among the Hungarian public and that most voters in the country share views on important political issues that are “favorable to Chinese standpoints.” But the researchers also highlighted a strong polarization when it came to foreign policy issues, with voters from the ruling Fidesz party sharing overwhelmingly positive views of China and opposition voters expressing pessimism and concern.
The CEECAS survey says that positive views on Chinese presence and influence regarding key public discourse issues were within the 50–60% range, and negative views for the same questions were within the 30–40% range. The survey also says that roughly two-thirds of the supporters of the governing Fidesz coalition have overall positive perceptions of China-related issues. The Global Influence Operations Report recently reported that while Chinese investments in Hungary remain small, Chinese “corrosive capital” provides lucrative business opportunities primarily for Hungarian prime minister Victor Orbán’s clientelist networks, which includes many Fidesz party members.
Prime Minister Orban is already well-known for his close relationship with Russia under Vladamir Putin and a US media report has described Orban as “the Russian President’s closest friend inside the EU and NATO.” The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) has extensively covered Orban’s role in the National Conservatism Alliance, a potential opportunity for Russian influence.
For more GIOR coverage of Hungary, go here.