Hungary’s ruling party unveiled billboards vilifying European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen on Monday, the first time it has made her a personal target in a campaign similar to one against her predecessor that angered Brussels.
The billboards, erected overnight to launch a campaign for next June’s European parliamentary election, depict Von der Leyen alongside Alex Soros, the son of liberal Hungarian-born financier George Soros, a perennial target of hostility from Orban’s Fidesz Party.
The slogan reads: “Let’s not dance to their tunes”. Soros is Jewish and some critics view the central role he plays in Fidesz propaganda as evidence of anti-Semitism, which Fidesz strongly denies.
Similar billboards showing Von der Leyen’s predecessor Jean-Claude Juncker alongside the elder Soros drew a rebuke from Brussels in 2019. Fidesz took them down after the European Parliament’s main centre-right EPP group threatened to expel the Hungarian party. Fidesz left the EPP two years later.
Orban, whose government has been trying to unblock billions of euros in EU funds suspended by Brussels over Fidesz’s policies, said on Saturday that Hungary “must say no to the current Europe model built in Brussels”.
Hungary is expected to be a major focus of the next EU summit in mid-December, as the EU country most sympathetic to Russia and sceptical of plans to offer Ukraine a path to join the bloc, expected to be the summit’s top issue.
Orban sent out a survey on Friday to Hungarians asking whether the EU should allocate more funds to Ukraine or grant it membership.