Former PM Tony Abbott and Hungarian PM Viktor Orban in Budapest in 2019 (Image: Hungarian Prime Minister's Press Office/EPA)

European politics took an unsettling lurch to the 1930s fascist right this week with the blood-and-soil style nationalist ruminations of Hungarian strong-man Viktor Orbán: “We are not a mixed race and we do not want to become a mixed race.”

In one universe, Orbán’s Hungary could be dismissed as a latter-day Ruritania -- annoying, but largely harmless. But in the universe in which we live, Orbán has become a model for the right’s rejection of liberal democracy and human rights, embraced by conservative groups across the world.

Right now, one of his proteges -- leader of Italy’s Fratelli d'Italia Giorgia Meloni -- is on track to be the first overtly fascist prime minister of a western European country since World War II. In Spain, the extremist Vox party is making itself the indispensable partner of the increasing conservative People’s Party.