Taxpayer-funded research has no legal weight
Hungary’s government has launched a “national referendum” that aims to “protect” the country from perceived European Union policies, including the potential membership of war-torn Ukraine. Since 2015, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s nationalist government has often used such polls, backed by extensive multimedia campaigns, to claim legitimacy for its positions and attack EU policies.
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The taxpayer-funded study, titled “National Inquiry to Defend Our Sovereignty,” has no legal weight. However, Orbán said that if the government received “confirmation” of its policies in the poll, it would be able to “continue to hold out” in its battle with Brussels over migration, which he previously said had a “clear link with terrorist acts”.
For each of the 11 questions in the survey, respondents have the opportunity to choose from only two alternatives. In all but one case, the first option is to support the Hungarian government’s position and oppose the alleged EU policy. The second option is to accept them.
Hungary regularly clashes with its EU partners not only over migration, but also over issues such as media and court independence and LGBT rights.
In addition, four of the questions in the survey are related to neighboring Ukraine. Budapest is at loggerheads with Kiev over the rights of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine’s Transcarpathian region. On the other hand, Orbán has maintained close ties with the Kremlin since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
This is not the first such nationwide poll Orbán’s government has initiated over alleged EU policies. Last year, Hungary held a national poll on EU sanctions against Russia.