Hungary’s parliament took the initiative in a long-standing dispute with the European Union by voting on Tuesday to call for an end to the threat of EU sanctions against Budapest. The resolution implicitly offered Hungary’s support for the long-term budget and pandemic recovery plan to be discussed by EU leaders on Thursday and Friday this week – provided that the Union drops its pressure on Hungary’s alleged contravention of the rule-of-law.

The EU leaders’ discussions later this week will require unanimity, giving Budapest more bargaining power. Hungary is also anxious to retain a proportional share of EU funds, despite other countries suffering more in the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose Fidesz party enjoys an overwhelming majority in parliament, has proven adept in the past at playing EU power politics, and his pre-emptive move in parliament on Tuesday suggests he will enjoy more success against the Brussels players who want to see Hungary brought into line, not only on the rule-of-law but also on the thorny issue of Hungary accepting an EU-formulated quota of migrants.

Hungary’s stance on this last problem is strongly supported by Poland, and to only a slightly lesser extent by the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

PHOTO: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban shows Budapest to European Council president Charles Michel European Council