On the first day following his election victory in 2010, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán travelled to Warsaw, where he was welcomed by his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk. Thirteen years later, Tusk is about to return to power, while Orbán seems to have chosen a different partner.
When Orbán met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing last week, much of the Western world was aghast. Some called it “shame”, others a “security concern”, or even an embarrassment. It did not go down well with the Poles who – up until now – were staunch allies of the Hungarian government in the European Council.
A change of government in Poland could increase Orbán’s isolation within the EU. The PM may be comforted by the support of Slovakia’s returning populist Prime Minister Robert Fico, but the loss of the famous Polish-Hungarian friendship would be a serious blow.
And cosying up to war criminals does not seem to help his case.