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EU may threaten Orbán with early end of Hungary's presidency in EU Council

Wednesday, 10 July 2024, 10:06
EU may threaten Orbán with early end of Hungary's presidency in EU Council
Viktor Orbán and Putin during the meeting in July. Photo: Viktor Orbán on Facebook

The EU has started discussing punishing Hungary and the government of Viktor Orbán for their international activity and fake "mediation" to end the war in Ukraine. In particular, they are discussing the possibility of an early end to Hungary's presidency of the Council of the European Union. 

Source: European Pravda article

Details: It is reported that Orbán, whose country began to preside over the EU Council on 1 July, has begun to use this status without consent from other EU members − and this has started to irritate Hungary's European partners.


The publication notes that the EU has never terminated the presidency's powers ahead of schedule, but there are ways to do this.

In particular, Article 16 of the Lisbon Treaty only states that the presidency "is carried out based on equal rotation", and the timing and priority of this honorary mission is determined at the EU summit. A vote by a qualified majority is sufficient for its approval.

This means there are no legal obstacles to taking away Hungary's seat at the next summit. It is noted that, for example, it is possible to reduce the term of the Hungarian presidency and transfer these functions to Poland, which will head the EU Council from 1 January 2025 but should technically be ready to take over these functions a few months earlier. 


According to European Pravda, sources in Brussels are already noting this possibility, and it will be used as a "soft threat" to Orbán at the meeting of ambassadors of EU member states on Wednesday and then at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting on 22 July.

However, the EU does not want to create such a precedent without an urgent need.

Therefore, they will try to convince Orbán to change his behaviour and avoid this step.

At the same time, European officials are not ruling out the possibility that the EU will eventually have to take extreme measures in the event of a continuation and escalation of the conflict.


  • On 2 July, Viktor Orbán made his first visit to Kyiv since Hungary's presidency in the EU Council began, and after that he travelled to Moscow, where he met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Orbán called his trip to Russia "peacemaking". On social media, he posted a photo from the Vnukovo airport government terminal with a large inscription "Moscow" in the background, to which Orbán's press service added the logo of the Hungarian Presidency of the EU, despite Brussels noting that Orbán was only representing his country during his trip.
  • Later, Orbán visited Azerbaijan, where he spoke at an informal summit of the Organisation of Turkic states, and to China, where he met with Xi Jinping and announced other visits. 
  • On 8 July, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy explained why Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán cannot be an intermediary between Ukraine and Russia.
  • After the trip to Moscow, Viktor Orbán explained how he had hidden these plans from Western allies until the last moment and promised more "surprise meetings" soon.

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