Besides seeing the war in Ukraine in the same way [i.e. the West's fault and not wanting to support Ukraine with arms], what else unites Robert Fico and Viktor Orbán? Are the two on better personal terms than Orbán is/was with other Slovak leaders, and if so why?

(AFAICT, Fico didn't stand apart from other Slovak political leaders in condemning a certain speech of Orbán regarding Slovakia, so if he is on better terms with Orbán that might be on other matters. OTOH that piece mentions that Fico "in the past expressed admiration for Orban’s way of doing politics", but that's a little vague.)

1 Answer 1


It is a mixed relationship. There is a number of things which is common:

  1. Both of them are kind of sovereignist in terms of the EU. None of them wants to cease it, but both of them wants to avoid increasing further the power of Brussels, and both rejects the concept of the United States of Europe.
  2. Neither Orban nor Fico is pro-Russian. They prefer to do business with Russia (oil, gas, etc.) but they do not support them in the war. Hungary gives humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but not weapons (in particular it is also not pro-Ukraine, hence I would rather use the word neutral). So far Fico has campaigned with a similar message in Slovakia.
  3. Both of them supports close cooperation in the V4 (Visegrad 4) group.

There are on the other hand many issues that divides them.

  1. Ethnic Hungarians of Slovakia would like to get rid of the parts of the Benes decrees that even today makes it legal to take away properties of Hungarians on ethnic basis and therefore to discriminate them. The Hungarian government (Orban and also all the previous governments) supports them in this effort.
  2. The case of Hedvig Malina, which happened under Fico is still not resolved satisfyingly.
  3. In 2010 Orbán opened the possibility for the ethnic Hungarians of Slovakia (and Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, etc.) to obtain Hungarian citizenship. In the same year Fico introduced a new law to take away the Slovak citizenship from these ethnic Hungarians, if they get the Hungarian citizenship.
  4. On a longer term, Hungary's aim is to increase the language rights of ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia and to obtain their autonomy as in South-Tyrol, Wales or Catalonia. Fico so far has been agains all such steps.

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