Nationalism in heart of Europe needles EU

Nationalism in heart of Europe needles EU

Grinning cheerfully as he swipes his mop neatly across the glass front of an optician’s shop, Sandor the window cleaner tells me he doesn’t think much of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party.

“They may say the economy’s thriving but we don’t feel it,” he says. “The one thing they do right is to keep the migrants out.”

Not far away, at Hungary’s southern border, the wind whips across the steppe, flattens the grass and whistles right up against the vast metal intricacy of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s border fence.

Few try to cross it these days. Even so a security patrol crawls, rather menacingly, along its barbed perimeter.

What is, for some, all about internal security, also represents this country’s decision to prioritise national interest above that of the EU. It’s a symbol of defiance.

It’s also a vote winner.

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