Hungary’s Orban in Unlikely Play for Influence in Moldova

Often at odds with neighbouring Romania, Hungary looks to cosy up to Moldova.

Agenuine effort to increase Hungarian influence or an opportunity to irritate neighbouring Romania? That’s the question being asked of Viktor Orban’s apparent outreach to Moldova, a country beyond Budapest’s traditional ‘sphere of influence’.

During a decade in power, Orban has spent hundreds of millions of euros on extending Hungary’s influence among large ethnic Hungarian communities in neighbouring countries.

But an apparent effort to cosy up to Moldova’s pro-Russian president, Igor Dodon, and encourage greater trade with Europe’s poorest state has some observers puzzled, particularly given Moldova’s chief ‘advocate’ within the European Union has long been Romania, with which it shares close historical, cultural and linguistic bonds.

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