In 1977, young Democratic Senator Joe Biden enjoyed his honeymoon in Hungary with his second wife Jill, on the recommendation of future California Congressman Tom Lantos, who arranged for the newlyweds to attend his wedding. After meeting several figures of “socialism” in Budapest, Biden headed for the picturesque Lake Balaton, a favorite holiday spot of the “red nomenclature” during the Iron Curtain.
“Lantos introduced Hungary more as a director of a Hungarian travel agency: The best fish are here, Lake Balaton is the most beautiful in the world, the bridges across the Danube are the most spectacular in the universe and the most famous scientists , actors, mathematicians, composers and poets on the planet were all Hungarians, the story in 2011 Charles Gati, American-Hungarian professor at Johns Hopkings University and old acquaintance of Tom Lantos, in the newspaper Népszabadság. But the Biden-Orbán relationship will be much less pleasant than the memory of the honeymoon.
With the return of the Democrats to power in Washington, the opponents of the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hope for an intensification of the pressures on Budapest, already prepared for a confrontation as immediately after 2010, comments AFP. By rejecting refugees, the aversion to the balance of power and the appetite for “fake news”, the controversial style of government of the Hungarian prime minister, already in conflict with Brussels, brought him closer to US Republican President Donald Trump, loser in the November elections.
But this way of governing could bring him into conflict with US President-elect Joe Biden, who has already fought against violations of the rule of law in Hungary, an EU and NATO member state when he was vice president.
Therefore, Budapest expects difficult relations and warned the US on Thursday not to return to the policy of “exporting democracy”, through the voice of Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas.
Apparently, Hungary expects to be “punished” for its support for Trump and says it is “ready to fight the Biden administration,” according to political scientist Peter Kreko, interviewed by AFP.
During the US election campaign, the Democratic candidate denounced President Trump’s outstretched hand to the Prime Minister of Hungary, a country of 9.7 million people, accusing him of “embracing all the bandits in the world.”
The Hungarian populist leader, back in power in 2010, was late in congratulating Joe Biden on his “successful campaign” and wished him only health and success.
In September, Orban said he saw Trump’s re-election as “the best solution for Central Europe” and boasted that he was caught on a phone call from the US president while working in the kitchen.
Hungarian media close to the government continue to report allegations of fraud in the US elections.
Agoston Mraz, of the Nezopont think tank, believes that Budapest “does not have a plan B”, but that pragmatism should eventually prevail.
The Liberal mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karacsony, expressed hope that Joe Biden “will be good for Hungary”, while “Trump was good for Orban”.
In a context of pandemic that will bring multiple challenges to the new US administration, which will have to deal with many cases, Viktor Orban’s new strategy could be not to stand out and to stay away, says Daniel Hegedus, analyst from the German Marshall Fund in the USA. “But it’s true that he’s not necessarily good at it,” the analyst added.