Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced on Tuesday that his government would assume emergency powers so it would be “able to respond more quickly” to challenges caused by the war in Ukraine, with which Hungary shares 136 kilometres of land border.
Speaking in a video address published on Facebook, Orbán warned that the world is “on the brink of an economic crisis,” and stressed that Hungary must “stay out of the war in Ukraine” and “protect families’ financial security”. He said that the measures would be formally announced on Wednesday.
Orbán’s government previously invoked emergency powers in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a move which many international rights organisations condemned – accusing Orbán’s Fidesz party of abusing the pandemic to in effect rule by decree. Before the pandemic, Orbán similarly invoked emergency powers in response to the migration crisis in Europe.
This year, Fidesz won another supermajority at the parliamentary elections in April, securing another term for Orbán, and encouraging the Hungarian leader to double down on his adversarial relation with Brussels.
Budapest is currently facing a so-called conditionality mechanism procedure, launched by the European Commission, which could see Hungary lose its access to most of available EU funding over its long-time erosion of human rights, media liberties, judicial independence and other checks and balances. Hungary could also be denied funding from the Recovery and Resilience mechanism.
While voting together with the rest of the EU countries on the first few rounds of sanctions against Russia, following its invasion of Ukraine, Orbán has recently vetoed the Commission plan to introduce an embargo on importing Russian oil, despite Hungary being offered exemption from the embargo.
Orbán’s government is currently juggling the consequences of the war in Ukraine, a soaring national inflation of 9.5%, and a budget deficit that was inflated in the first four months of this year thanks to a pre-election government spending spree.