CPAC Conference Looking To Expand Into Hungary
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), founded and hosted by the American Conservative Union (ACU), is the largest gathering of conservatives in the US, and will be a familiar fixture to anyone who follows right-wing American politics.
Recently HOPE not hate wrote about how it had expanded internationally with conferences in Japan, Korea, Brazil and Ireland. Now, ACU Chair Matt Schlapp has also hinted that CPAC could be heading to Hungary.
In October he tweeted a picture from the first ‘CPAC Korea’ event in Seoul alongside various global CPAC partners including Eszter Párkányi, a legal analyst at the Budapest-based Center for Fundamental Rights (CFR). ACU Executive Director Dan Schneider also tweeted saying that at the event ‘CPAC leaders’ from countries including Hungary would be present.
Created in 2013, the CFR describes itself as a research institute dealing with legal analysis, though places its focus specifically on themes that chime with the Orban government’s agenda:
The Center considers preserving national identity, sovereignty and Christian social traditions as its mission, especially amongst the 21st century’s heightened process of globalization, integration and technological changes, affecting the field of law as well. Besides these, it is a well-known aim of the Center to form a counter against today’s overgrown human rights-fundamentalism and political correctness that have been affecting numerous aspects of our everyday life.
Whilst it is not clear whether Párkányi’s involvement with CPAC’s activities is on behalf of the CFR, the choice of a CFR employee implies a concerning closeness of a potential CPAC event in Hungary to the country’s ruling far-right, illiberal government.
The New York Times reported in November 2018 on the creation of the Central European Press and Media Foundation, a right-wing Hungarian media conglomerate of 476 media companies. The new foundation is run by individuals close to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and CFR’s Director, Miklós Szánthó, has been Chairman since 2019.
Párkányi herself is also close to Orban’s party, Fidesz, having previously acted as a spokesperson for its youth wing, Fidelitas.
Center for Fundamental Rights
If CPAC do indeed expand into Hungary, the CFR certainly looks like a possible partner. Eszter Párkányi has previous let slip her support for Hungary’s own far right, in February retweeting (then deleting) the leader of the country’s branch of Generation Identity, the pan-European youth movement known to have received funds in Austria and France from the Christchurch terrorist attacker.
More recently, Miklós Szánthó travelled to America to visit a major right-wing conference.
In early October he attended a two day conference in Los Angeles organised by the California-based American Freedom Alliance, listed by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as an anti-Muslim group.
The ‘Global Freedom Movements’ event featured speakers from across 11 countries, including British far-right activist Katie Hopkins (who gave the keynote speech), former UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe, British Conservative Party MEP Daniel Hannan, Dominik Tarczynski MP for the governing Polish far-right Law and Justice party, leader of the Dutch far-right party Forum for Democracy Thierry Baudet, Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute Guy Milliere, key Austrian anti-Muslim activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, New Zealand conspiracy theorist Trevor Loudon, National Review columnist and Senior Editor of the American Spectator John Fund, the Alternative fur Deutschland party’s spokesman on cultural affairs Marc Jognen, and Austrian Freedom Party MP Roman Haider.
Clearly the CFR have their eyes on international connections and its seems possible that we could be seeing CPAC conferences in Hungary before too long.