EU Council President Charles Michel denounces Hungary’s Orban visit to Russia 

Simona Mazzeo
credit: bbc

Brussels (Brussels Morning) – European Council President Charles Michel stressed that Hungary, under its EU rotating presidency, cannot engage with Russia on the EU’s behalf. Russia remains the aggressor, and Ukraine is the victim.

Does Hungary Have an EU Mandate to Visit Russia?

President of the European Council Charles Michel has raised concerns regarding Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s visit to Russia. Michel discussed the matter on the social media platform

“The EU rotating presidency has no mandate to engage with Russia on behalf of the EU. The European Council is clear: Russia is the aggressor, and Ukraine is the victim. No discussions about Ukraine can take place without Ukraine.” Charles Michel said.

Michel emphasized that Hungary, which assumed the rotating presidency of the European Council in July, does not have the authority to engage with Russia on behalf of the European Union. The European Council’s stance is obvious: Russia is the attacker, and Ukraine is the victim. Michel stated that no discussions about Ukraine can take place without Ukraine’s involvement.

The scheduled visit follows shortly after Orban’s journey to Kyiv. Orban also requested Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to assess the possibility of a cease-fire aimed at starting truce talks with Russia. The Hungarian leader emphasised that “peace is important for all countries” in Europe, pledging his country’s assistance to the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict. He highlighted that Hungary will continue to help Ukrainian refugees and is ready to donate to the modernization of the Ukrainian economy.

What Is the EU’s Position on Hungary’s Russia Engagement?

Moreover, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, states that the stay to Moscow of the Prime Minister of Hungary, who is now operating the rotating presidency of the European Council, Viktor Obran, takes place exclusively within the framework of bilateral connections and cannot represent the function of the European Union.

“Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s visit to Moscow takes place, exclusively, in the framework of the bilateral relations between Hungary and Russia… Prime Minister Orban has not acquired any mandate from the EU Council to visit Moscow,” according to a report, the text of which was distributed in Brussels.

Borrell identified that the EU’s position on Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is echoed in many conclusions of the EU Council. “That position excludes official communications between the EU and President Putin. The Hungarian Prime Minister is thus not conveying the EU in any form,” the High Representative stated.

At the same time, he said that Hungary is currently an EU member state and functions as the rotating chairman of the Council until December 31, 2024. “That does not entail any external manifestation of the Union which is the responsibility of the President of the European Council at the Head of State or Government level and of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at the Ministerial level,” Borrell reflected the powers of officials within the EU.

The High Representative also reflected that President Putin was indicted by the International Criminal Court and a detention warrant was issued for his role in the forced deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.

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Simona Mazzeo is a journalist at Brussels Morning News. She is covering European Parliament, European Council, European Commission & Italy News. She is a law graduate and lawyer residing in Agropoli, has carved out a multifaceted career dedicated to justice and social advocacy. She actively serves as a delegated councilor for the Equal Opportunities Committee of the Bar Association of Vallo della Lucania, championing fair and equal representation within the legal system. Recognized for her expertise and empathy, Simona is qualified for registration in the list of Special Curators of minors in civil and criminal matters at the Court of Vallo della Lucania, ensuring the rights and interests of vulnerable children are protected throughout legal proceedings. Beyond her legal practice, Simona demonstrates a strong commitment to social causes. She is a founding member of the Free Lawyer Movement, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing legal assistance to those who cannot afford it. Additionally, she leverages her knowledge and passion for social justice as a non-professional journalist, contributing insightful and informative pieces on relevant legal and societal issues. Through her diverse endeavors, Simona Mazzeo exemplifies dedication to legal excellence, social responsibility, and a fervent belief in equal access to justice for all.