Viktor Orbán’s anti-woke resistance has made him the ‘splinter under the fingernail’ of the EU

Budapest: Hungary’s parliament will convene an emergency session on Monday to do something its western partners have waited for, often impatiently, for more than a year: to hold a vote, finally, on approving Sweden’s bid to join the NATO military alliance.

But Hungary’s governing party, led by nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, has signaled that it will boycott the session, blocking the chance for a vote and further delaying a decision on Stockholm’s bid. It’s the kind of obstruction of key policy objectives for which Orbán has become notorious within the European Union.

“We are the sand in the machinery, the stick between the spokes, the splinter under the fingernail,” Orbán said in a speech to tens of thousands of supporters in 2021.

That “stick between the spokes” tactic, and Orbán’s role as Europe’s perennial spoiler, has brought the EU to breaking point time and again as he has blocked crucial decisions to leverage concessions from the bloc, forcing its leaders to scramble to find workarounds.