Macron flirts with Orbán about support for Ukraine

Macron flirts with Orban about support for Ukraine
full screen French President Emmanuel Macron, right, welcomes Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to a “working dinner” at the Élysée Palace on Thursday evening. Photo: Michel Euler/AP/TT

In an attempt to thaw the mood and break the deadlock following the threat to block further EU aid to Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron received Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the Élysée Palace on Thursday.

Macron welcomed Orbán to a working dinner to discuss, according to the French presidential office, “several topics” on the agenda for next week’s EU summit, including “various aspects of European support for Ukraine.”

The EU wants to agree on new financial support and start talks on Ukrainian membership of the union during the summit, but fears that Orbán will put the brakes on the wheel.

Earlier this week, Viktor Orbán sent a letter to EU Council President Charles Michel urging him to remove these items from the agenda.

Recently, the EU Commission has recommended that membership negotiations be opened with Ukraine and Moldova.

The Commission then also announced a support package of 50 billion euros (about 560 billion kroner) to Kiev. But the package must first be approved by all member states.

Even after Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began in February last year, Viktor Orbán has maintained his close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.