Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

The End of the Affair

By Amanda Coakley

22 Aug 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Poland and Hungary have long stood together in an “illiberal alliance” within Europe, opposing immigration and Brussels. But this FP analysis shows how differences over Russia have led to a breakup.

WARSAW, Poland—Central Europe’s illiberal alliance between Hungary and Poland is now in its twilight hours due to gaping differences over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Although Warsaw has become one of Kyiv’s most vocal advocates, calling for tougher sanctions on Moscow and increased military aid, Budapest has shirked from any meaningful support, instead focusing on maintaining good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

That divide has prompted Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to say the paths of the two national conservative governments—long fellow travelers in their opposition to immigrants, Brussels, and the rule of law—have “diverged.” Poland’s opposition to Russia’s war has gone some way to rehabilitating its image in Europe, but it is a bitter blow to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has tried to salvage the relationship by arguing that the two counties are in fact “aligned” on their hopes for Ukraine. 

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