A specter is haunting the European Union—the specter of Eastern Europe. Hungary is a country slightly more populous than Virginia, and its population diminishes slightly every year. It receives substantial subsidies from richer EU countries, produces nice wines, but has little industry not tied to German auto plants. Its military has roughly zero external intervention capability.
And yet in Europe, Hungary is always in the headlines. The glossy French center-right weekly Le Point warns with alarm that Hungary’s president Viktor Orbán “outlines the shape of another Europe.” A few months ago, the European Parliament subjected Orbán’s government to a sort of trial under “Article 7,” a process that could lead to Hungary being denied its parliamentary voting rights. Le Point (again) speaks ominously of a menacing “axis” between Poland, Hungary, and the new populist government of Italy.