Viktor Orban’s parallel diplomacy embarrasses the European Union

kyiv on July 2, Moscow on July 5, Shusha, Azerbaijan, on July 6, Beijing on July 8, and Washington, for the NATO summit, starting on July 9. In less than a week, the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, will have completed a veritable diplomatic marathon, which surprised all of his European partners.

That the Hungarian leader, in charge since July 1 of the rotating six-monthly presidency of the European Union, would go to kyiv, all his European counterparts expected and hoped. This symbolic gesture showed European attachment to the fate of Ukrainians, who have been living under Russian bombs for two and a half years now.

But let the strong man from Budapest then go to Moscow, to Choucha, to the Nagorno-Karabakh region taken over in 2023 by Azerbaijan from Armenia – an affront to Paris –, and to Beijing under the cover of a “peace mission” linked to Ukraine, took all capitals by surprise. This tour, prepared in the greatest secrecy, was seen as a sign of disloyalty.

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“Capitals are increasingly concerned about the role that Mr. Orban attributes to himself in the so-called “peace mission”, when it should be clear that he only represents his own country,” underlined Monday , in Brussels, a European diplomat after a weekend where a large number of heads of government strongly criticized Mr. Orban’s parallel diplomacy. Since the start of the conflict, European states have demanded a just peace.

“And to think that Hungary has only held the rotating presidency of the European Union for eight days,” sighs a community official in Brussels. The ambassadors of the Member States demanded an explanation from the Hungarian presidency at their next weekly meeting on Wednesday.

This article is originally published on lemonde.fr

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