EU foreign policy chief issues fresh rebuke to Hungary's Orban

Orban draws flak after attending meeting of the Organisation of Turkic States in Azerbaijan


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Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Reuters file
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Reuters file

Published: Sun 7 Jul 2024, 3:55 PM

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban drew a fresh rebuke from EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Saturday after the nationalist leader attended a meeting of the Organization of Turkic States in Azerbaijan.

Brussels, EU allies, the United States and Kyiv had already slammed Orban, whose country took over the European Union's rotating presidency this month, for holding talks on the Ukraine war with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Friday.

EU officials blasted the surprise trip, saying it threatened to undermine the 27-member bloc's stance on the conflict and stressed that he was not representing Brussels.

Orban's participation at an informal OTS summit in Azerbaijan on Saturday was the latest event where he represented Hungary alone and not the European Union, Borrell said.

"Hungary has not received any mandate from the EU Council to advance the relations with the Organisation of Turkic States," Borrell said in a statement.

Orban has already sparred with Brussels over his controversial travels.

"Are we allowed to have dinner or do we need a #EUCO mandate for that too?" his political director wrote on X, formerly Twitter, after the Moscow trip.

The EU also rejected OTS attempts to legitimise the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus by admitting it as an observer, said Borrell.

The island of Cyprus has been divided for decades between the internationally recognised, Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, and the Turkish-speaking TRNC, only recognised by Ankara.

The OTS is an international organisation bringing together countries with Turkic languages, founded in 2009 by Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Hungary became an observer of the group in 2018.

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