After last week’s summit in Brussels, a question arises: in whose company does Viktor Orban feel better? The Czech Minister for the European Union believes that the Hungarian Prime Minister is a Trojan horse in the European Union that protects Russian interests. Foreign media also write about the attitude of the head of the Hungarian government, while criticizing the attitude of the European Commission.
Red carpet and military honors – this is how Budapest welcomes the Turkish president. This is Recep Erdogan’s second visit in the last four months. The goal is still the same – strengthening cooperation.
After last week’s summit in Brussels, questions arise as to whose company Orban feels better? Autocrats who persecute the opposition and free media, or in the company of EU leaders?
– I think the real name of the Hungarian approach is blackmail. I think the real name is veto abuse. Not to protect Hungary’s national interests, but to protect Russia’s interests. Today, Orban is a Trojan horse who is intensively and, unfortunately, more and more effectively breaking down unity and trying to show that we should disregard Ukraine, says Martin Dvořák, Czech Minister for European Affairs.
The Czech minister’s opinion is not an isolated one. Politicians and commentators accuse Orban of being a Putin sympathizer. He last saw the Russian president in the fall and said he was proud of these personal contacts. – Hungary’s goal is to build the best possible relations with Russia and so far we have succeeded, but unfortunately due to the military operation and European sanctions our relations have suffered – said the Hungarian Prime Minister.
After Orban vetoed the EU’s financial aid to Ukraine, his relations with Putin probably improved. It is precisely such moves that mean that the Hungarian leader is increasingly perceived as an advocate of the Kremlin, and not as one of the leaders of a united Europe.
– Viktor Orban is one of the most serious threats to the unity of the European Union. It threatens the future of the Union, threatens the issue of aid for Ukraine, and issues related to the rule of law – points out Prof. Katarzyna Pisarska from the Foundation. Kazimierz Pułaski and the Warsaw School of Economics.
“A dangerous precedent”
Orban is ruthlessly using the threat of a veto and – as can be heard in Europe – thanks to this, just before the start of the summit, he forced Brussels to release the frozen EUR 10 billion from European funds. The European Commission is today accused of succumbing to blackmail, which will only encourage Orban to commit further extortion.
“This is a dangerous precedent, because blackmailers always come back for more. Will EU leaders pay Orban and then send him out the door every time unanimity is needed? (…) This is shockingly naive, because Orban will constantly repeat their tactics to extort as much money as possible,” points out “The Guardian”.
“There are growing concerns that Orban wants to paralyze the decision-making process in the EU in order to achieve greater ambitions. His goal is to completely reshape the European Union and consolidate the image of Hungary as a redoubt defending itself against liberalism, immigrants and – as he puts it – gender ideology. Orban knows that his strategy is working,” writes The New York Times.
So far, Orban has been considered extremely pragmatic and communicative. However, last week in Brussels he showed a much more radical, unpredictable face.
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Main photo source: PAP/Marcin Obara