Scholz sends Orbán out for coffee

Scholz sends Orbán out for coffee

On Thursday the EU voted to start accession negotiations with Kiev. Chancellor Scholz is said to have suggested to Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán to briefly leave the hall to allow for a unanimous vote. The Kremlin speaks of a “unique practice.”

During the discussions between the heads of state and government of the European Union on the accession negotiations for Ukraine, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán left the meeting room. Like the newspaper Politico reported on Friday that Chancellor Olaf Scholz had asked his Hungarian counterpart to do so. “Perhaps treat yourself to a coffee outside,” Scholz is said to have said.

The remaining 26 heads of government then unanimously decided to start EU accession negotiations with Ukraine. According to the regulations, if a head of government is missing, there is nothing against it.

The Chancellor’s move caused astonishment, he said Politico. EU officials and diplomats present at Thursday’s meeting were unsure whether the step used by Scholz had ever been used in Brussels. The idea that an EU head of state had to leave the room so that a unanimous decision could be made was very unusual. An official told the newspaper that Scholz had resorted to an “old trick” from his time with the Young Socialists. What was meant was the youth organization of the SPD, whose deputy chairman was the current Chancellor in the 1980s.

Scholz sends Orbán out for coffee

Another source for the newspaper explained that Orbán’s position had already begun to shake on Thursday morning when he attended a breakfast with Scholz as well as French President Emmanuel Macron, EU Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Orbán was unable to present any plausible arguments against negotiations with Ukraine, the source said. Later at the summit, the 26 EU heads of government contradicted all of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s arguments. Scholz came at the right time with his suggestion. This was very appropriate, quoted Politico an EU diplomat.

After the announcement of the start of accession negotiations, Orbán wrote on Facebook that Hungary wanted nothing to do with this decision. He criticized: “It is a completely senseless, irrational and wrong decision to start negotiations with Ukraine under these circumstances.” A few hours later he blocked the agreement on new financial aid for Ukraine. A total of 50 billion euros was planned for the next four years. In January, the EU heads of government want to try to reach an agreement at another meeting.

Dmitry Peskov, the Russian president’s press secretary, expressed surprise. “This is none of our business, but we read with great interest various media reports about the practice of making different decisions in the EU while waiting for someone to get coffee in order to enforce decisions in someone’s absence. If that corresponds to reality , then this is a unique practice,” Peskov said.

“I would like to remind you of the President’s words yesterday: Do not think that Hungary and a number of other countries that defend their interests are pro-Russian. They are by no means pro-Russian. They are just self-confident and independent enough to pursue their own to defend interests.”

Hungary is a sovereign country, has its own interests and defends them, unlike many European countries. Moscow is impressed by this attitude.

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