Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is showing other European nations that there are alternatives to losing their sovereignty and bending the knee to Brussels, writes French author Thibaud Gibelin in his book “Orbán is playing to win.”
“In just a few years, Viktor Orbán has become the face of Central Europe for the French public. My essay is entitled ‘The revival of Central Europe.’ Understanding the Hungarian prime minister means recognizing the main trends represented by Fidesz in Hungary, which are gaining ground in neighboring countries and which would have remained out of the spotlight without (Orbán as) a spokesman,” Gibelin said during an interview with Hungarian news portal Index regarding the key conclusions of his book.
Orbán has seen extraordinary success in his home country, scoring a majority that remains the envy of Western political leaders who also see far lower approval ratings than Orbán enjoys in his own country. Gibelin portrays the Hungarian leader as a figurehead for not only political parties in Europe, but also as a source for ideology and strategy.
“Nowadays, Viktor Orbán’s Hungary represents the nations striving for sovereignty,” Gibelin writes in his book.
Conservative politicians from other nations are looking to emulate this success at the ballot box while also boosting the independence of their own nations.
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“Moreover, all Western criticism of Hungary focuses on the Hungarian prime minister, so the question is to understand what Viktor Orbán represents. Fidesz’s victory in 2018 was a complete mystery to French political analysts. Its strong rejection of migration and its campaign against the ‘Soros plan’ were used (by the French) to portray the Hungarian conservative elite as shameful and absurd. How could this policy have gained significant democratic legitimacy? This is the question I have tried to answer,” Gibelin told Index.
Asked about the reception of the book in his home country of France, the author says the French have a tendency to project their own issues onto others.
“Orbán is, first and foremost, a symbol in France. He is the scapegoat the left uses, accusing him of the functional problems of the European Union. In contrast, Viktor Orban is a model for many French conservatives. The book was a success on the right but was met with a suspicious silence on the left. This is the first book published in French on recent Hungarian politics that does not consider Hungarian ambitions since 2010 to be suspicious or worthy only of guilt,” he said.
Orbán is offering a solution to all of Europe
Gibelin says Orbán not only works for the interests of his own country, as what he does can also serve as a model for other European nations.
“Viktor Orbán offers a realistic approach that will benefit not only Hungary but also Europe. It is based on the recognition of the European civilization’s unity, the bankruptcy of liberal globalism, and the national perspective, which I see as the first positive political dynamic since the European Civil War of 1914-1945. It is about the liberation of Europe from its destiny in America,” he says.
“What strikes me in particular is his ability to synthesize the politics of the day and the long-term vision. This ability allows him to combine the aspirations of the majority with the opportunities offered by the international power structure.”