Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Hungary Approves Science Crackdown as Orban Walks EU Tightrope

  • Lawmakers also delay plans to carve up the supreme court
  • Parliament votes on both measures in illiberal balancing act
Viktor Orban in Brussels on July 2.

Viktor Orban in Brussels on July 2.

Photographer: Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP via Getty Images 

Hungarian lawmakers rubber-stamped a bill that critics warn will open the door to the political control of scientific research in Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s latest move to tighten his grip on power.

The law is another step in Orban’s almost decade-long march to take control of all walks of Hungarian life. He has imposed his will on institutions ranging from media and education to the central bank and courts, drawing censure from the European Union for undermining the rule of law. But the premier has also avoided serious punishment by reversing course when he sees he’s pushed the EU’s boundaries too far.