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European MPs call on Charles Michel to suspend Hungarian presidency of EU Council

by Kateryna Hodunova June 28, 2024 12:05 AM 2 min read
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives his first international press conference after his Fidesz party won the parliamentary election, in the Karmelita monastery housing the prime minister's office in Budapest, Hungary, on April 6, 2022. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images)
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German members of the European Parliament (MEPs), Daniel Freund and Damian Bezelager, sent a letter to European Council President Charles Michel, demanding to suspend Hungary's presidency of the EU Council.

The letter was reportedly signed by 20,000 signatures of EU citizens and published on June 27 on Freund's account on X.

The Belgian presidency in the Council of the EU terminates at the end of June. The Hungarian presidency of the Council of the EU begins on July 1 and will last for half a year.

"It would be extremely harmful for the reputation of our Union if the current Hungarian government would represent us Europeans in any capacity, just after the European elections," the letter said.

The MEPs recalled how Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban compared the EU to a dictatorship and emphasized Hungary's close relations with Russia, which continues its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The high level of corruption, as well as undermining the rule of law and media freedom in Hungary, are also mentioned in the letter.

"Hungary, in its current state, would never pass the accession criteria to join the EU. Its criminal leadership should, therefore, not be allowed to represent the Union."

Hungary has repeatedly opposed Ukraine's accession to NATO and the EU, as well as sanctions on Russia, since the start of the full-scale invasion in 2022.

Orban earlier presented a seven-point program that should become a guideline for Hungary as the EU Council President. The program does not prioritize assistance for Ukraine.

Hungary also does not plan to convene EU-Ukraine summits in the next six months but wants to hold a summit in the Western Balkans instead.

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