Monday, July 15, 2024

EU fumes at rogue Orbán, but struggles to rein him in

Must read

Since Budapest took over the rotating EU presidency last week, Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán has undertaken self-declared “peace missions” to Kyiv, Moscow, Beijing and Washington. 

Hungary says it doesn’t know what all the fuss is about.

At a packed press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, Hungary’s EU Minister János Bóka said the discussions “were not on behalf of the EU, these were not conducted based on a mandate from the European institutions, these were not conducted in the name of the European Union or any of its institutions.

Since Budapest took over the rotating EU presidency last week, Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán has undertaken self-declared “peace missions” to Kyiv, Moscow, Beijing and Washington. | Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

“The prime minister is aware of the responsibilities that the presidency of the Council of the EU entails, and in [the] spirit of this responsibility he debriefed the president of the European Council and heads of state and governments on these visits.”

But EU ambassadors pushed back against those claims on Wednesday, echoing many of their leaders who have already publicly condemned the trips. 

The envoys noted the “timing and sequencing of the meetings, [the] use of presidency hashtags, and the reaction of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” an EU diplomat said, like others in this piece granted anonymity to speak freely. “The lines were clearly and deliberately blurred. And Orbán went counter to the letter and spirit of EUCO conclusions, thereby hurting EU unity,” the diplomat added, referring to summits of EU leaders.

Latest article