After China enacted a new security law that tightened its control over Hong Kong, the EU wanted to make a statement expressing its concern over the erosion of human rights. That statement was never made. Hungary put in a veto.
Hungary has been defying consensus and using its veto card in the EU partly because it wants to increase its economic ties with China. And to do that, it needs to align itself politically with China.
Hungary is both an EU and NATO member. But since Orban took office in 2010, he’s been openly pursuing an “Eastern Opening strategy” in the hopes of attracting Chinese investment.
The coronavirus pandemic has moved this strategy forward. At the beginning of the pandemic Prime Minister Viktor Orban himself inspected tons of supplies that had arrived at the Budapest airport from China — ventilators, protective gear and more.
In the latest move toward China, Hungary’s foreign minister announced the country would begin to produce China’s Sinopharm in 2022. Hungary is also the only country in the EU to inoculate its citizens with the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine.
The implications of Hungary turning to China are concerning for the EU, especially for NATO security. A detailed report by Hungarian investigative outlet “Direkt36” documented how the country’s “Eastern Opening” policy creates a friendly environment for Chinese intelligence. In short: making Budapest a spy hub.
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