The World Through Hungarian Eyes - Foreign Policy Attitudes in Hungary in 2023

Policy Solutions' comprehensive survey of foreign policy attitudes reveals how Hungarian public opinion sees the world in 2023.
The World Through Hungarian Eyes - Foreign Policy Attitudes in Hungary in 2023

This study aims to present the Hungarian public's perception of their nation's place in the world and the Hungarians' assessment of crucial international issues, conflicts, and players. We asked respondents about the goals that should define Hungarian foreign policy and which countries we should closely cooperate with. We further looked at the Hungarian public's awareness of leading international politicians and public figures and wanted to know how popular they are. We also analysed the public's view of the United States and the People's Republic of China in detail. In addition to asking citizens about Hungary's NATO membership, we also sought to gauge the public's support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO.

The survey of attitudes towards the Russia-Ukraine war was a major focal issue. We asked respondents about the support for Ukraine by the EU and Hungary, the sanctions against Russia, and their expectations concerning the outcome of the war. Drawing on the results of three distinct data collections, we also examined how the public's views of the respective credibility of Western/Ukrainian and the Kremlin's narratives changed over time. 

"The World Through Hungarian Eyes: Foreign Policy Attitudes in Hungary in 2023" can be downloaded from here. 

Key findings: 

- Although the majority believe that Hungary's place is in the West, over the past two years the share of those who would prefer closer ties with Russia has doubled.

- The majority do not believe that Hungary could emerge as the leading power of the Central European region.

- The two most important objectives of Hungarian foreign policy: defending national sovereignty and cooperating with the Western allies.

- Hungarians are most likely to call for closer partnerships with Austria and Germany and least likely to want a more intense relationship with Ukraine and Russia.

- Nearly half of Fidesz supporters believe that Ukraine is a threat to Hungary, while two-thirds of opposition voters hold the same about Russia

- Three-quarters of Hungarians support our country's NATO membership. 

- Support for Ukraine: The majority is in favour of humanitarian aid and EU financial support but opposed to military assistance.

- The voters of Fidesz and Our Homeland believe that the sanctions have hurt the EU economy more than Russia, while a plurality of the six-party opposition bloc say that they have hurt both parties to a similar extent.

- Hungarians assess that the Russians are either going to gain more territory or freeze the frontlines; few expect the Ukrainians to break through.

- Those who consume only pro-government media tend to blame the Ukrainians, while those who predominantly consume media that are critical of the government are more likely to agree that Putin is a war criminal.

- The United States through Hungarian eyes: A military and political superpower that is losing ground but remains the land of liberty and prosperity.

- Hungarians' image of China: A country that is expanding its economic and political clout but is not characterised by prosperity and oppresses its minorities.

- Fidesz supporters are more negative towards the US and positive towards China, while the views of opposition voters are just the reverse.

- The most well-known international public figures in Hungary: Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis, Donald Trump. Pope Francis is the most popular, while Vladimir Putin is the least popular among international public figures. 

"The World Through Hungarian Eyes: Foreign Policy Attitudes in Hungary in 2023" can be downloaded from here. 

Authors: András Bíró-Nagy - Vanessza Juhász - Áron Szászi - Attila Varga 

The study was realised with the support of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Budapest.


About Us

Policy Solutions is a progressive political research institute based in Budapest. It was founded in 2008 and it is committed to the values of liberal democracy, solidarity, equal opportunity, sustainability and European integration. The focus of Policy Solutions’ work is on understanding political processes in Hungary and the European Union. Among the pre-eminent areas of our research are the investigation of how the quality of democracy evolves, the analysis of factors driving euroscepticism, populism and the far-right, and election research. 



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