Sputnik discussed the EU decision to punish Hungary with Gabor Gyori, a senior analyst at Policy Solutions, a Hungarian think tank.
Sputnik: What do you make of the decision to punish Hungary? What is the likelihood that this punishment will amount to anything?
So I can't assess the likelihood of where things are headed. This is a fairly novel phenomenon, the European Parliament has not taken this step thus far, so I don't know where the process will go from here, but I think it is definitely a substantial decision, it is a major decision in the history of the European Union.
Sputnik: Even if for some reason this were to go forward, although it's extremely unprecedented and there are a lot of reasons to think that it wouldn't go forward, do you think it would have the desired effect, would it change the way that Orban would conduct business or any of his policies?
Gabor Gyori: That is, again, very difficult to predict. One of the characteristics of Hungarian politics is that unlike in normal, functioning democracies where decisions are made through the deliberation of the leading persons, the way the Hungarian political system works is it is essentially all up to the decision of one man. He will make up his mind, and it will not be a transparent process.
There will not be a policy discussion on how Hungary should react, but Orban will probably talk to a few advisors and then he'll make up his mind and then the decision will be either announced or it will be implemented without even an announcement. But the decision will be in the mind of one man, it's up to him, and it's always difficult to predict what he'll do.
The other option is that he will decide that now is the time to break with the European People's Party, now is the time to break with the mainstream conservatives in the European Parliament and to align himself more closely with the far right parties which find his policies more sympathetic anyway, and which Fidesz usually also prefers in most of its communication.
Sputnik: What about Poland? Poland has said that they will veto any sanctions against Hungary, what are your thoughts? What's the relationship between Hungary and Poland right now, because actually Poland is also at risk of having some kind of sanctions against it, so these are the bad boys of the European Union or the bad girls…
Gabor Gyori: Yes, exactly, there's a strong alliance between Hungary and Poland on this issue, there is a kind of protective umbrella that they hold over each other. At this point, it may not only be Poland; it could also be other countries, it may easily be the Czech Republic, you could also see it in the EP vote that there are several countries that are potentially sympathetic to the Hungarian government in this situation, but going forward it's very difficult to predict what shape it will take.
Two things should be kept in mind: the potentially worst punishment here — taking away Hungary's voting right, is only one of the actions that European bodies could take, there would also be other potential countermeasures which not do not necessarily require unanimity.
Sputnik: And what kind countermeasures could those be?
The views and opinions expressed by Gabor Gyori are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.