Many Similarities, But Also Differences: The Fragile Convenience Society Between Johnson and Urban – Politics

© Toby Melville / Reuters

Albrecht Mayer

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in London. This raises suspicion in Brussels.

Boris Johnson does not have many advocates among EU leaders. However, one of the admirers of the British prime minister is the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. So it was evident that of all people, Urban was the one who was invited to Downing Street 16 months after Brexit. The meeting of the Johnson and Orbans family in London on Friday raised concerns not only in the European Union, but also in Great Britain.

In the European Union, Orban is seen as a crossover because he undermines the rule of law in his country, flirts with Russian President Vladimir Putin and blows a common line in foreign policy toward China. Recently, Hungary blocked the European Union’s declaration of escalation in the Middle East conflict.

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In Brussels, the Johnson-Orbans meeting raised suspicions that Johnson was still trying to weaken the European Union. The British Prime Minister disagrees with the community of 27 countries in the European Union over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which in effect provides for customs controls between Great Britain and Northern Ireland after Brexit. Johnson refuses to fully implement the protocol.

At the London seat of government, Orban’s call was justified by the fact that cooperation with Hungary was “crucial to the prosperity and security of the United Kingdom”. Economy Minister Coase Quarting stressed that it was “absolutely reasonable” to arrange a meeting between Johnson and Orban.

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Quarting said that a prime minister like Johnson should “talk to all potential leaders in the world, even if we don’t necessarily share their values.” “In a post-Brexit world, it is perfectly fine to build bilateral relations with individual countries.”

In addition, the significance of the visit to the official residence of Johnson was justified by the fact that Hungary would soon assume the presidency of the group of so-called Visegrad states. The Visegrad group also includes the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.

There is no press conference at the end

However, it appeared that the British prime minister was not entirely comfortable in light of the meeting. Because after that there was no joint press conference. This may also have something to do with the fact that Orban’s anti-Muslim pronouncements from the past have met with bipartisan opposition in the UK. In 2018, Orban justified his stance on refugee policy by saying that the “Muslim invaders” should be kept out of Hungary.

On Thursday, she said from the British Prime Minister’s Office that Orban’s comments were “divisive and wrong.” Previously, Labor MP Lisa Nandy had also invited Johnson to bring up anti-Semitic remarks by Urbanz at the meeting.

In addition, Orban’s friendly position to China is inconsistent with Johnson’s claim that Western industrialized countries, as the host of the upcoming G7 summit in Cornwall, should forge a common path toward Beijing. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken recently called on Washington and London to join efforts on China’s policy.

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