This information is from our Brexit archives, documenting what different countries thought of the negotiations, their relationship with the UK and priorities in the negotiations.
This page was last updated in 2020.
|János Áder (Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance, since May 2012)
Viktor Orbán (Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance, since May 2010)
|Size||93,030 km² (57,906 sq. miles)|
|MEPs||21 (joined the EU in 2004)|
|Next presidential election
Next legislative election
|Presidency of the Council||July – December 2024|
|Last meeting with Boris Johnson||None held to date|
|Brexit priorities||Hungary and the UK are close allies and the Hungarian Government has stressed it does not want to punish the British for voting to leave. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has also been very critical of the EU and seeks to retrieve some powers from Brussels back to Member States.
One of Hungary’s main priorities in the negotiations is to protect the rights of over 200,000 citizens living in the UK. It wants Hungarian nationals’ working permits to be renewed after the UK leaves the bloc.
Hungary also has an interest in the financial settlement between the UK and the EU, as it is a big receiver of EU funds, which might be impacted by the UK leaving the bloc.
The two countries have shown willingness to strengthen their relationship, having recently set up a British Hungarian Business Council to promote investment from British companies in Hungary.
|What Prime Minister Orbán said on Brexit||Brexit was a result of “uncertainty, paralysis … of slowly being unable to feel at home in Europe.”
“Hungary definitely would not like to see any revenge on the British. We are a democratic country and we accept that democratically another country’s population decided to leave.”
“So it is in our interest that the trade aspect of British-Hungarian relations should continue to be open and free in the future.”
“There will be the constant danger in the future in the European Union, a kind of temptation following the British that getting out of the European Union… could result in a better position for you than staying in the European Union,”
|Hungary’s priorities||The Prime Minister indicated after his re-election in 2018 that his focus would be on pursuing national interests.
The government’s priorities are to lift the EU’s punitive measures against Russia and to tackle immigration by holding immigrants in detention centres to stop them traveling through Europe.
The Hungarian government has been criticised by other EU leaders and institutions for its 2011 media law and newly introduced constitution. In addition, protests have erupted following the introduction of tough laws targeting foreign-backed NGOs and higher education institutions, which would lead to the closure of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. All these policies have put the Hungarian Government at odds with Brussels, where the European Parliament decided to call on the European Commission to trigger Article 7 that would suspend Hungary’s voting rights in the EU. On 13 July, the Commission decided to launch the infringement procedure against Hungary as regards to both of these issues.