Hungary has long been Europe’s black sheep. Liberals wring their hands at Budapest’s rolling back of press freedom, the dishing out of government contracts to aspiring autocrat Viktor Orban’s friends and family, and Orban’s unsettling closeness to leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
So it came as little surprise that at the recent summer conference of the World Economic Forum, held in the Chinese port city of Tianjin, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto sounded more aligned with Beijing than with his European peers. “Political leaders in Europe … are interested in so-called decoupling or de-risking. Which, to be honest, according to our understanding, would be a brutal suicide.”