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Orbán Meeting With Bolsonaro, Other World Leaders Before Election

picture of Jair Bolsonaro

Preparations are underway for a Budapest visit by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (pictured) in February, reports Azonnali. But Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is also planning to meet with Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson, and the leaders of the V4 countries before Hungary’s parliamentary elections on April 3.

The previously-announced meeting between Viktor Orbán and Vladimir Putin will also take place in February, likely in Moscow, although the location hasn’t been finalized yet. Following this, in March British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to host Eduard Heger from Slovakia, Mateusz Morawiecki from Poland, Petr Fiala from the Czech Republic, and Viktor Orbán in a joint meeting in London.

Orbán mentioned the Johnson-V4 meeting in his government briefing in late December, although he didn’t give any details as to its exact time and place. It is also worth mentioning that Johnson is facing a political crisis over indoor parties that were held while his country was on coronavirus lockdown, meaning it is conceivable that the Conservative Prime Minister may not be in power by the time March rolls around.

Viktor Orbán was one of the few European state leaders who personally attended the inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro on January 1, 2018.

A Hungarian government source told the news site that protocol dictates reciprocating the visit in some way, which is why it’s logical to expect Bolsonaro to make a quick trip to Hungary before the elections.

Moreover, relations with Brazil were strengthened in the past few years when Hungary purchased two military transport aircraft from the country, a significant arms deal on its own, but also allowing Brazil to brag that its KC-390 aircraft are being used by a NATO member country.

However, the shared ideology between the two leaders probably is more important than this. Both Jair Bolsonaro and Viktor Orbán are among the leading politicians behind right-wing populism on the international scene, and Orbán’s stated goal is to build an international network of leaders like him.

Of particular interest is the fact that Bolsonaro is planning to travel to Budapest directly from Moscow, although the Putin-Orbán meeting will take place as planned.

Jair Bolsonaro and Viktor Orbán certainly have a lot in common in several areas: tearing down international trade barriers, putting economic considerations ahead of environmental ones, and even making conservative family values a priority, but the two leaders have completely opposite views in one important area.

The Brazilian president is famously skeptical of the coronavirus epidemic. He has not been vaccinated, and has had several posts and videos removed from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for spreading false information, such as the claim that the vaccine causes AIDS.

Azonnali writes that the Brazilian President’s extremist views on the coronavirus and friendliness with the Russian administration may cause him not to make a planned trip to Warsaw, in addition to visiting Budapest. [Azonnali]

Posted in Foreign Relations

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