ARCHIVE IMAGE: Former US President Donald Trump has vowed close ties with Viktor Orbán's Hungary "when" he is reelected later this year. (EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO)


Trump vows close ties with Orbán ‘when’ former president returns to White House


Former US president Donald Trump has vowed close ties with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Hungary “when” he is re-elected later this year.

In a pre-recorded video address delivered at the CPAC Hungary meeting on April 25, Trump heaped praise on Orbán, describing him as a significant ally in the culture war.

“As president, I was proud to work with Prime Minister Orbán – by the way, a great man – to advance the values and interests of our two nations,” he told those gathered.

“We cracked down on illegal immigration, protected our borders, created jobs and defended our traditions and Judeo-Christian values – so important, Judeo-Christian values.”

“I look forward to working closely with Prime Minister Orban once again when I take the oath of office as the 47th President of the United States,” Trump added.

“As long as we remain united in our vision, true to our principles and fearless about defending our values, conservatives will win the battle to save our civilisation from the communists, Marxists and fascists and restore the reign of conservatism and common sense to the world.”

Trump’s statements came amid an increasing marginalisation of Hungary within the European Union.

Having endured frosty relations with Brussels over the past five years, the victory of liberal politician Donald Tusk in Poland’s general election last year has left the Orbán administration largely alone, with the end of the previous conservative (PiS) government seeing Hungary lose its last major ally.

Since then, Orbán has been forced to capitulate on several major issues, including Ukraine funding, while his country is also far more vulnerable to punitive rule-of-law measures imposed by the European Commission.

A re-election of Trump later this year could shift this dynamic. It would likely leave Hungary as one of the few EU countries that have a warm relationship with a Republican-run US.

Orbán having Trump’s ear could end up being of particular value to Brussels, with sources close to the former president suggesting he is harbouring serious anti-EU sentiments.

“When it comes to the EU, I do think there are times when Trump makes me look like a Europhile,” former UK MEP Nigel Farage replied when asked about the issue by Brussels Signal recently.