Conspiracy Theories and Hungarian Border Politics: The “Soros Plan” as a Threat to National Sovereignty

Authors: James Scott*, University of Eastern Finland
Topics: Political Geography, Social Geography, East Europe
Keywords: Borders, border politics, George Soros, populism, Hungary
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Studio 6, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

With its rejection of mainstream liberalism and key objectives of European integration the Hungarian government under Viktor Orbán has established itself as a champion of conservative nationalist values and sovereigntist ideals. This is clearly evidenced by the Hungarian government’s strategic use of its borders in order to contest a joint EU response to refugee and migration ‘crises’. Hungary’s politics of borders have seen new border fortifications, a partial militarisation of border areas and a direct challenge to the Schengen Agreements. They also serve to underline a reaffirmation of national sovereignty. Within this context, George Soros and NGOs who receive support from his Open Society Foundation have been accused of plotting to undermine Hungarian sovereignty and democracy by facilitating the entry of large numbers of would-be migrants. The national campaign against the ‘Soros-Plan’ not only manipulates but encourages xenophobia and fear in ways similar to other countries in Europe and beyond. This ‘struggle for sovereignty’ is more than a story of Hungary’s ideological battles, it also raises potentially serious questions regarding the future direction of European construction.

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