Orbán's Bulgarian Fandom: Unexpected Admiration in the Balkan Country

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's popularity is surprisingly higher in Bulgaria than in his own country or neighboring Slovakia, according to a March survey conducted by the "Ipsos" agency for "Euronews". While only 32% of Hungarians express a positive opinion of Orbán, nearly four out of ten Bulgarians have a favorable view of him. Moreover, the survey indicates that Orbán enjoys 50% more support in Bulgaria than in Hungary. The ambiguity of the "I don't know enough" responses among Slovaks and Bulgarians suggests that some individuals may harbor positive sentiments towards Orbán but choose not to express them publicly.

In Sweden and Finland, Viktor Orbán's approval ratings are notably low, possibly due to Budapest's delayed support for the two countries' NATO membership until the last moment. Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Values, recently stated in an interview with EUobserver that Hungary faces significant isolation in Europe due to Prime Minister Orbán's close ties with Russia. She highlighted Orbán's handshakes with Putin, which she believes contribute to a retreat from democracy and the rule of law in Hungary.

However, these concerns don't seem to trouble surveyed Bulgarians, who emerge as the most supportive of Vladimir Putin among EU member states. According to "Ipsos" data from late February and early March, 37% of Bulgarians hold a positive opinion of Putin, despite widespread information about his actions in Ukraine and repression in his own country. Another 15% responded with "I don't know enough," making a total of 52% either neutral or positive toward Putin. In comparison, Slovakia, Hungary, and Greece exhibit lower approval ratings for Putin, with varying levels of ambivalence or negativity.

The survey covering...

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