Steve Bannon plans to advise Hungary's far-right PM Viktor Orban

‘We will spend a lot of time in Hungary,’ says US strategist

Adam Forrest
Saturday 17 November 2018 14:19 GMT
Steve Bannon says he met Hungarian prime minister and aides
Steve Bannon says he met Hungarian prime minister and aides

Steve Bannon, former political strategist for Donald Trump, said he plans to work closely with the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban in the run-up to next year’s European Parliament elections.

Mr Bannon revealed that he had visited Budapest to speak to the far-right leader and his aides in meetings not previously made public.

The political operative also suggested Hungary would make an ideal home for “The Movement” – his new campaign group aimed at electing right-wing nationalists in Europe.

“If I could, we would headquarter The Movement in Budapest,” he told the French radio network RTL.

“I love it so much there. But obviously it is not practical. We will spend a lot of time in Hungary between now and election day.

“John McLaughlin, who is my pollster in the United States, is going to run this overall polling effort in Europe. He is also the pollster for Orban in Hungary,” Mr Bannon added.

Mr Bannon claimed next year’s elections would revolve around the clash between core EU members such as Germany and Eurosceptic nations like Hungary.

The controversial US strategist provoked protests in the UK this week, when he invited to speak to students at Oxford Union and took part in a media conference in Edinburgh.

Last month, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon pulled out of the conference because of Mr Bannon’s inclusion.

Ms Sturgeon said she did not want to take part in something “that risks legitimising or normalising far-right, racist views”.

Although he has not fully explained his connections with Mr Bannon, Mr Orban has backed his organisation, saying it was time for more people to challenge liberal values across Europe.

Elected in 2010, the prime minister has used his parliamentary majority to pressure courts, media and non-governmental groups in ways that breach EU laws, his opponents have claimed.

In September, the European Parliament voted to sanction Hungary for flouting EU rules on democracy, civil rights and corruption.

Mr Orban has also led the opposition to German chancellor Angela Merkel over the issue of accepting refugees from outside Europe.

Mr Bannon said he would visit Budapest again in late November.

Additional reporting by agencies

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in