Hungary’s ruling party, Fidesz, has launched a new campaign targeting European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen with billboards displayed across the country. This move mirrors a previous campaign against her predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker, which drew criticism from Brussels.
The billboards, erected overnight to coincide with the launch of the campaign for the upcoming European parliamentary election in June, feature Von der Leyen alongside Alex Soros, the son of Hungarian-born financier George Soros. George Soros has long been a target of hostility from Fidesz Party, and critics argue that the central role he plays in Fidesz propaganda is evidence of anti-Semitism. However, Fidesz vehemently denies these claims.
The slogan on the billboards reads: “Let’s not dance to their tunes,” suggesting a resistance to external influence. This message seems to be part of Fidesz’s broader narrative of opposing the current European model built in Brussels.
This is not the first time Fidesz has used billboards to target European leaders. In 2019, similar billboards featuring Jean-Claude Juncker alongside George Soros prompted a rebuke from Brussels. The European Parliament’s main center-right group, the EPP, threatened to expel Fidesz if the billboards were not taken down. Fidesz eventually left the EPP two years later.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose government has been at odds with Brussels over Fidesz’s policies, has been vocal about his opposition to the current European model. Orban recently stated that Hungary “must say no to the current Europe model built in Brussels.” The country’s stance on issues such as its sympathy towards Russia and skepticism towards Ukraine’s path to EU membership is expected to be a major focus at the next EU summit in December.
In line with these sentiments, Orban sent out a survey to Hungarian citizens asking whether the EU should allocate more funds to Ukraine or grant it membership. This move reflects Hungary’s stance on the issue and its desire to shape the EU’s policies.
As Hungary continues to navigate its relationship with the EU, the billboards targeting Ursula Von der Leyen and the upcoming EU summit are likely to fuel further debate and scrutiny regarding Fidesz’s position within the European political landscape.