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Viktor Orban in Moscow to meet Putin, outcry in the EU

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrived Friday à Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, causing outrage &agrav; the head of the EU, who recalls that he acts "without a mandate" and denounces any temptation to "appeasement”.

Three days after his first trip to kyiv since the start of the Russian offensive, the Hungarian nationalist leader went to Moscow “as part of his peace mission”, according to the Hungarian government .

Dmitri Peskov, spokesperson for Vladimir Putin, assured a journalist from state television that the two leaders would discuss the war in Ukraine “among other things”.

Budapest, which has held the six-monthly presidency of the Council of the European Union since July 1, has received “no mandate” from the EU, its foreign minister Josep Borrell said on Friday. This trip “takes place exclusively in the context of bilateral relations between Hungary and Russia,” he added.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, for her part judged on X that the temptation of “appeasement will not stop Putin.” “Only unity and determination will pave the way for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in Ukraine,” she stressed.

Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, which brings together the leaders of the Twenty-Seven, had reacted on Thursday evening to the unofficial announcement of this trip.

“The rotating presidency of the EU has no mandate to engage in dialogue with Russia on behalf of the EU,” wrote Mr Michel on X on Thursday. “The position of the European Council is clear: Russia is the aggressor, Ukraine is the victim. No discussion can take place without Ukraine.”

Mr Borrell also stressed on Friday that the EU position, reaffirmed several times by the European Council, excluded “official contacts between the EU and President Putin”. Mr Orban “does not represent the EU in any way”, he insisted.

EU solidarity towards Ukraine does not will not weaken, assured German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

– “impartial mediator”-

“If we sit in Brussels, we will not be able to get closer to peace. Action must be taken,” Mr. Orban argued Friday morning during a radio interview, when asked about his visit to kyiv on Tuesday.< /p>

“Hungary does not have the mandate or the international political weight (…) but we can be an instrument in the service of God and those who want peace,” he said, while acknowledging that “the road will be long as the positions of the two camps are so far apart.”

Hungary holds the six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union, which brings together the ministers of the Twenty-Seven, until the end of December.

This rotating presidency allows the country holding it to control the agenda of the meetings of the 27, with the exception of those of the foreign affairs ministers, a power that is not insignificant but not absolute, according to several European diplomats.

Hungary had promised to ensure a “normal” presidency by presenting its priorities for the six months to the press. come.

“Everyone is delighted that it is our turn to make Europe great again” (Make Europe Great Again), Mr Orban assured on that date, taking up the much-criticised Trumpian slogan chosen by Budapest.

“We will act as an impartial mediator”, affirmed the Minister of European Affairs Janos Boka.

But, he immediately added, Hungary will take advantage of the spotlight to put forward its “vision of Europe” and “straighten the course (…) in the right direction”.

“The Hungarians will focus on being super professional”, judged on this point a European diplomat accustomed to negotiations between the 27. But that will probably not prevent Viktor Orban, who likes to be the center of attention, to try to “make his mark” during these six months, he added.

All rights reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116