The formation of a new liberal coalition headed by Donald Tusk may strengthen Europe during the war in Ukraine – says “The Times” in its Wednesday publication. This also creates the possibility of getting rid of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is positioning himself in the EU as a Trojan horse of Russian President Vladimir Putin – adds the British daily.
According to The Times, Putin “turned Orban into a weapon.” “The strength of the unanimity rule in the EU is such that one stubborn member can thwart most attempts at coherent strategic decision-making,” wrote the British daily, recalling that in December last year Hungary blocked EU aid to Ukrainefighting against Russian aggression, in the amount of EUR 50 billion.
“Orban is doing this not only to please Putin, but also because he is betting on Donald Trump’s victory (in the US) in November. This is a way to consolidate his position as a European friend of the American leader, who has already expressed a lack of enthusiasm for the Ukrainian issue,” he said. “The Times”.
Orban changes his position before the extraordinary summit
As “The Times” writes, so far “this game has been possible thanks to the knowledge that Poland under PiS will always publicly side with Orban, even if it disagreed with him regarding Volodymyr Zelensky’s war actions,” adding that “these calculations were changed after the formation of Donald Tusk’s ruling coalition.
November choice Tusk and the building of a (so far) stable, more liberal coalition, according to the British daily, opened the way to the weakening of Europe during the war. This increases the possibility of “taking advantage of Orban, who has positioned himself as Putin’s Trojan horse at the gates of the EU.”
So far, “The Times” notes that Orban has softened his approach to negotiations within the EU. “The next extraordinary EU summit (on EU financial aid for Kiev) is to take place in a few weeks (February 1, 2024 – ed.), and Orban is already changing his position to present himself as more favorable. He suggested that he could withdraw his veto on aid for Ukraine, if the European Council unanimously approves annual financing for Kiev, which would mean 12.5 billion euros in grants and loans annually for the next four years,” wrote “The Times.” “But his intentions are clear: Orban wants to be able to veto Ukraine’s financing every year in exchange for regular money for Hungary, the daily added. Everything indicates that the course of these negotiations will determine what position Viktor Orban will ultimately adopt.
“Breathing new life into the Weimar Triangle”
According to The Times, the new Polish government should capitalize on frustration in Europe with Hungary’s policies and “breathe new life into what was once known as the Weimar Triangle – the security-conscious axis of Paris, Berlin and Warsaw.”
The Weimar Triangle “could become what the EU needs at a time when the United States is in shambles and Russia is on the attack.” Germany are the leaders in financial aid for Kiev, while Poland has a “rapidly developing army” and is a “clear supporter of the Baltic states.” The only problem remains the need for a greater contribution from Paris, the daily states.
According to the British daily Donald Tusk “understands that the stabilization of Europe depends on the West taking full responsibility for the security of the East.
Decision of the President of the European Council
“The Times” recalled that “Charles Michel, president of the European Council, has made the most extraordinary move of his career: he decided to leave his position to fight for a seat in the European Parliament“. According to the newspaper, it is worth emphasizing that Hungary, under Orban’s leadership, will hold the EU presidency from July to December 2024. “An arsonist in the powder magazine,” says “The Times”.
“For many, Orbán has become more terrifying than Brexit. He wants to completely destroy the concept of liberal Europe, and his dark ally is Putin. It’s time for him to go,” stressed “The Times.”
Main photo source: Radek Pietruszka/PAP