The re-election of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz Party’s large majority win in parliament signal that anti-immigration and Eurosceptic policies continue to hold populist appeal in parts of Europe.

Orbán ran primarily on an anti-immigrant platform, vowing to stop mass migration and blaming Brussels for requiring Hungary to accept refugee quotas. His party’s two-thirds majority in parliament means it has wide latitude to pass constitutional changes.

In a pre-election speech, Orban vowed to make “moral, political and legal amends” against his critics. Among the legislative proposals is a “stop Soros” law, in reference to Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, that would impose a 25-percent tax on all foreign funding of organizations that assist or advocate for immigrants. It would also allow any organization to be shut down if the government deems it to be a national security risk.

BAL Analysis: As in the recent election in Italy, the successful anti-immigrant rhetoric in the Hungarian election focused mostly on refugees and there is no indication that policies toward high-skilled immigrants will be affected. However, the strong showing by Orbán does follow a global trend of populist opposition to immigration, which runs counter to the European Union’s pro-mobility policies.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Hungary. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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