According to an article by Bloomberg, there have been reports of secretive negotiations between Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. It is said that Meloni has urged Orban to remove his opposition to the European Union’s aid for Ukraine.
This political strategy follows Orban’s decision in December 2023 to veto a significant €50 billion aid package intended for Ukraine, a country currently embroiled in conflict. As a result of this blockage, EU leaders are now calling for an emergency summit on February 1st to address the issue and explore solutions that could work around Hungary’s opposition.
Sources close to the matter, who have chosen to remain anonymous shared with Bloomberg that Meloni has proposed an agreement to Orban. The suggested deal involves Orban’s Fidesz party aligning with Meloni’s Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group which includes parties such as Italys Brothers of Italy Poland’s Law and Justice party and Sweden Democrats. This alliance could potentially strengthen ECR’s position in politics, especially considering the anticipated increase in representation from far-right parties, in the upcoming summer elections.
These discussions have occurred at levels but have not yet produced a definitive outcome.
Orban, who is known for his pro-Russian views and tendency to echo Kremlin narratives has consistently voiced his criticism of the EU’s military assistance to Ukraine. He has frequently attempted to water down proposed sanctions against Russia or secure exemptions often using the threat of veto as leverage.
This situation arises amidst divisions within the EU on how best to support Ukraine amid ongoing conflict and geopolitical tensions. The outcome of these discussions and the subsequent emergency summit could significantly impact EU unity and its approach towards Russia and Ukraine.
The article, written by Euheniia Martyniuk and published on January 11 2024 highlights the diplomatic efforts taking place behind closed doors as European leaders navigate the delicate balance, between domestic politics and responding to international crises.