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Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Luxembourg Prime Minister Luc Frieden attend a European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium February 1, 2024.

REUTERS/Johanna Geron

The EU stares down Orban

Serial political blackmailer Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, upset other EU leaders in December by vetoing a plan meant to provide Ukraine with a multi-year €50 billion EU aid package. The EU must, Orban insisted, pledge to revisit the plan each year the money was scheduled for disbursement – with any member retaining the right to veto the plan midstream.

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Venezuelan migrants are pat-down before boarding a repatriation flight as a part of an immigration enforcement process, at the Valley International Airport, in Harlingen, Texas, U.S. October 18, 2023.

REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

Hard Numbers: Venezuela grabs Biden by the border, EU reaches deal on Ukraine aid, US strike on Houthi drones, Professional trust crisis, ICJ rules on Russia, Amelia Earhart found at last?

14: Venezuela has given the US 14 days to back off its “economic aggression,” or it will stop accepting deportation flights from the US carrying undocumented Venezuelan migrants. Washington has threatened to re-impose oil sanctions on Caracas after Venezuela banned the leading opposition candidate from running for president. But Venezuela is hitting Biden where it hurts: The migration crisis at the US southern border is becoming a major political liability for him, and Venezuelans are the third most common nationality of undocumented migrants apprehended.

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Dutch far-right politician and leader of the Freedom Party Geert Wilders gestures as he meets with party members after the parliamentary elections in The Hague, Netherlands, on Nov. 23, 2023.

REUTERS/Yves Herman

Dutch voters take hard-right turn: Will more of the EU follow?

After winning 25% of the seats in the Dutch Parliament last Wednesday, far-right firebrand Geert Wilders says he’s willing to compromise on his hard-line manifesto to get the support he needs to form the next government of the Netherlands. “I will be prime minister of this beautiful country,” he declared on X.
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends the autumn session of parliament in Budapest, Hungary, September 25, 2023.

REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo via Reuters

Viktor Orbán plays the ethnic card as part of his EU “schtick”

The Hungarian prime minister said Monday he’ll cut all support for Kyiv unless Ukraine addresses the grievances of ethnic Hungarians who live in the country.

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What We're Watching: Orbán demands an apology, India and China escalate, UN Security Council membership change

Will Orbán loosen the reins? Back in March, Hungary's strongman prime minister Viktor Orbán irked the European Union when he used the coronavirus crisis to push through an emergency law that opened the way for him to rule by decree indefinitely. Critics saw the move – which granted Orbán unchecked power to suspend parliament, cancel elections, and jail people for five years if they spread misinformation about the pandemic – as evidence of Orbán's avowedly "illiberal" impulses. But with the outbreak on the wane in Hungary, the legislature – which Orbán's Fidesz party controls – has scrapped emergency decree. Orbán says that Brussels' opprobrium was unjustified – and called on both the EU and the "fake news" media to issue an apology. But there is in fact proof that Orbán's party used the emergency situation to legislate on issues that have nothing to do with the COVID crisis. Crucially, rights groups say that the government used the parliamentary hiatus to limit the rights of transgender people, as well as to stash documents related to a secret development project with China.

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Fallout From A Fake Democracy
GZERO World S1E25: Fallout From A Fake Democracy

Fallout From A Fake Democracy

Nine out of every ten Venezuelans live in poverty and the average Venezuelan has lost 24 pounds in the past year alone. This is not what democracy looks like.

In this week's show, Venezuela expert Moisés Naím explains how this oil-rich country fell so far and why, as a former government official himself, he takes that personally.

+Syria Attack(?) +Lula in Jail +Orban Wins again +The Zuck Stops Here

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