BUDAPEST/BERLIN (Reuters) – Several European governments believe Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is flouting EU values by drifting into the Kremlin’s orbit but are unsure how to respond.
At a time when most EU states are isolating Moscow and turning their thoughts to stiffer sanctions as Ukraine’s ceasefire crumbles, Orban has alarmed many of his peers by establishing closer ties with Russia.
Orban, 51, has said the EU “shot itself in the foot” by imposing sanctions on Russia; he signed a deal with Moscow to build a nuclear power plant; he stopped shipping gas to Ukraine and he wants to accelerate work on the Russian-backed South Stream pipeline that Brussels opposes.
“We do not want the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU to be undermined,” Gunther Krichbaum, Christian Democrat President of the European Affairs Committee of the German lower house of parliament, told Reuters.
“This ambivalence is not without risks,” he said. “The Russians are trying to break the unity of EU members, especially in countries more dependent on Russian energy exports.”
While criticism is mounting, EU diplomats who spoke to Reuters said there was no consensus on how to respond in a way that would persuade Orban – a leader who has repeatedly scorned EU norms – to alter course.
Read more at Reuters