Is Budapest leaning eastwards?

Former Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan told Express.co.uk that there could be at least three more countries that will follow Britain out of the EU in the foreseeable future.

The staunchly eurosceptic Tory speculated on the possible scenarios that could lead to Denmark, Italy, and the Netherlands following the UK.

However, although largely overlooked by the media in this respect is Hungary, which appears to be being taken by Prime Minister Viktor Orban on a trajectory markedly different from that of the other 26 member states, and is increasingly showing signs of leaning towards the east. Orban has in the past boasted of his "special relationship" with Vladimir Putin.

This week Belarus, attracting much attention for its violent repression of free speech, the media, and minority groups in much the same way as Orban's Hungary is doing, opened its first Honorary Consulate in Budapest.

Belarus Hungary

This comes just weeks after the EU sanctioned high-level officials responsible for the ongoing violent repression and intimidation of peaceful demonstrators, opposition members and journalists, amongst others, and is unlikely to meet with the approval of the European Council.

In June, in what was his first official visit to Belarus, Orban visited President Aleksandr Lukashenko, himself on the EU sanctions list, which Orban opposed, in order to discuss trade and economic cooperation, and the implementation of joint projects.

Also, and somewhat pretentiously some might say, the two leaders discussed future cooperation between Belarus and the EU.

Belarus, which has relatively little in the way of external trade other than with Russia, has also opened and consulate in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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