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Jobbik becomes a potential partner for German and Austrian populists

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Hungary, Budapest – The Hungarian populist party Jobbik has received in an unofficial visit representatives of the AfD (Alternativ für Deutschland) which came to Hungary to study the border device and the security of the borders of the Schengen area. Despite belonging to different European parliamentary groups, representatives of the two parties announced considering a collaboration. Meanwhile, relations between Jobbik and the Austrian FPÖ seem to improve significantly.

One of the AfD’s MEP is a member of Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group, as the British UKIP whereas the other MEP of the AfD is a member of the Europe of Nations and Freedom group, as the French National Front. Nevertheless, the AfD and Jobbik showed up together in Hungary. Members of Parliament of Saxony (Germany) of AfD Mario Beger and Gunter Wild were visiting Hungary to study the situation on site, access to raw information and study the anti-immigration measures put in place in 2015 by the Orbán government, following the Jobbik’s idea. This was an opportunity for German lawmakers to meet informally Gábor Vona, the leader of Jobbik, and Márton Gyöngyösi, Foreign Affairs chief of Jobbik, with whom they discussed the possibility of a future collaboration, outlining the similar objectives of the two political organizations.

In Austria, the Freedom Party (FPÖ) which has just failed narrowly at the presidential election, and which benefits the support of Orbán, also received official congratulations from Jobbik for its results. Two months ago, the Freedom Party (member of the European Parliamentary group Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom, along with the French party National Front) invited members of Jobbik in Vienna, after some of its members have been to Budapest. According to Gyöngyösi, the rise of populists in Europe is the proof that the ‘traditional’ parties are dying out and everywhere in Europe, populist parties will come to power soon.

Makeover for the Jobbik

Founded in 2003, the Jobbik had a very radical image, especially for Western audiences. Jobbik has been revamped after the 2014 election that made it the first party of opposition. The party now wants to be a populist party, without extremists. This policy of de-demonization aims to make the party win the 2018 elections, as well as create or restore dialogue with potential partners, such as the AfD and the FPÖ.