European Council President to Cut Visit to China Short over Hungarian PM's Threats against Ukraine − Politico

Tuesday, 5 December 2023

European Council President Charles Michel will cut short his visit to Beijing because of the risk that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán could disrupt the EU leaders' summit in mid-December over Ukraine.

As Politico reports, an EU official says that Michel is travelling to China for the first in-person EU-China summit since 2019, but is expected to return to Brussels earlier − after the first day of meetings on Thursday − "to continue his discussions with leaders on a way forward."

Reportedly, this is partly because he does not have a secure phone line in Beijing to hold talks with EU leaders without being tapped by China.

The publication recalls that Michel met with Orbán in Budapest last week to ease tensions ahead of the EU leaders' summit.

French President Emmanuel Macron has also invited Orbán to meet with him in Paris later this week to try to reach a compromise, Politico writes, citing another official.

Media reports that Orbán urged Michel to remove EU accession talks with Ukraine from the agenda of the upcoming European Council summit in his letter dated 4 December.

Earlier, the Hungarian prime minister wrote another letter to the president of the European Council, in which he threatened to block EU aid to Ukraine and its progress toward EU membership unless EU leaders agree to revise their entire strategy of supporting Kyiv.

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