French President Emmanuel Macron received Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban to discuss the Ukraine war and other issues ahead of a European Council meeting over a working dinner at the Elysée Palace on Monday night.
An outspoken critic of Europe’s stance on the war in Ukraine, Orban remains one of the few dissenting voices among his EU counterparts, accusing the West of waging an “indirect war” on Russia.
The Hungarian prime minister has criticised Western sanctions levelled at Moscow and vowed to maintain ties with the Kremlin while refusing to supply arms to Ukraine.
Monday’s dinner between Macron and Orban would represent an “occasion to reaffirm the importance of European values and European countries’ united support of Ukraine in the latter’s war with Russia via sanctions”, said sources close to the president.
The two leaders were further expected to discuss “questions related to industrial policy, energy and migrations issues” as well as the Rule of Law ahead of the European Council set for March 23-24, the French presidency said in a statement.
Budapest is also engaged in a long-running row with the European Union over concerns in Brussels about corruption in Hungary.
In December, Brussels froze €12 billions in funds for Hungary pending anti-corruption reforms expected from Budapest.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)