500+ participants / 80+ speakers / 20+ panels

Side events

Day 2

16:15 – 17:15
(parallel sessions)

Hungary in the Balkans: Crafting the Southern Illiberal Flank

As part of the overall focus on the democratic backsliding in Hungary since Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz came back to power in 2010, many international observers have expressed concern about the increasing Hungarian influence in the Western Balkans.  The fear was that, through intensified meddling in Western Balkans affairs, Orbán’s Hungary would spread its illiberal influence throughout the region and thus undermine the overall EU policy. In 2019, the process leading to the appointment of Olivér Várhelyi, a Hungarian diplomat close to Orbán, to the position of the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, and a salvo of criticism that accompanied it, briefly placed the European media floodlights on the topic. However, the issue of Hungarian influence in the region of the Western Balkans quickly faded back to relative obscurity. Apart from a few exceptions and much journalistic account on Budapest’s involvement in the region of the Western Balkans, there are few or no analytical attempts to analyse and explain Hungarian foreign and trade policy in the region. Building on the findings of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy’s paper “Balkan Csardas: The Hungarian Foreign Policy Dance”, this side panel will shed more light onto the issue.

Ferenc Németh
István Szent-Iványi
Srđan Cvijić
Adnan Ćerimagić
Katerina Sinadinovska




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