“Hungary lost the rest of its trust in just nine days”. Criticism from EU ambassadors

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Ambassadors of 25 countries, during a more than two-hour exchange of views with the Hungarian presidency, criticized Budapest for trying to conduct the European Union's foreign policy without the consent and will of the rest of the capitals, an EU source told Polish correspondents. Only Slovakia did not speak out. European Council President Charles Michel assessed that Orban's latest actions were a “political mistake.”

For a discussion on roles and rights Hungarian Poland applied for the presidency. The debate took place during the regular meeting of ambassadors in Brussels, chaired by the representative of the member state holding the presidency of the EU Council. Since 1 July, this has been Hungary.

“All 25 countries have expressed dissatisfaction or anger with the development of the Hungarian presidency,” an EU source reported Wednesday's meeting. The ambassadors spoke about the visits of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who traveled to Kiev the day after taking over the presidency, and then went to Moscow and Beijing, and took part in the summit of the Organization of Turkic States. In the opinion of most countries – as the EU source emphasized – this was “Orban's game”, pretending to represent the EU.

“The discussion showed the unity of the 25 countries in assessing the Hungarian presidency,” we hear. During the meeting, the duties of the presidency were also recalled and it was emphasized that it does not play any role in representing the EU in foreign policy.

“Hungary has lost the last of the trust it once enjoyed”

Most often, ambassadors spoke about the loss of trust, accused Hungary of instrumentalizing the presidency or violating treaties. They also called for Budapest to withdraw its veto, which is the only capital that does not agree to the eighth tranche of support for Ukraine as part of the Facility for Peace (EPF). – Hungary has lost the last of the trust it enjoyed just nine days after taking over the presidency – commented the EU diplomat. As he emphasized, Orban's actions serve neither the Union nor peace. – They play to the advantage of Putin and his war project – he added.

Viktor Orban at Vladimir Putin'sPAP/EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

“The leaders will do with the conclusions of these visits as they see fit”

Orban's visits were defended by Hungarian Minister for European Affairs Janos Boka. As he stressed at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, it is not customary for leaders of member states to inform the EU about their foreign visits. He added that after their visits, the Hungarian prime minister reported – although he did not have to – their progress in a letter to the President of the European Council. Charles Michel and heads of government and member states. – The leaders will do with the conclusions from these visits whatever they consider appropriate – he emphasized. Opinions in Brussels itself on Wednesday's debate are divided. – Hungary will change its behavior only if it feels the tangible consequences of its actions. However, such a debate may have significance in the Brussels bubble, where Orban already has a bad reputation and does not inspire trust – assessed the interlocutor of the Polish Press Agency. Boka declared that Hungary will play the role of an honest broker within the presidency. According to him, it will also be ready to organize a hearing within the framework of the Article 7 procedure conducted against Budapest, “if there is such a will among the majority of countries.”

Charles Michel: It's a political mistake

European Council President Charles Michel said that Orban, holding talks with Putin just days after Hungary took over the presidency, was presenting a position that the vast majority of EU leaders did not share. He assessed that it was “a political mistake.”

Diplomats unanimously emphasize that there is no talk of a potential extension of the Polish presidency at the expense of the Hungarian one (Warsaw will take over the presidency of the EU Council for six months from January 1, 2025). For now, there is also no boycott of meetings organized by Budapest by ministers, in whose place lower-level representatives could potentially be sent.

Main image source: PAP/EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV



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