Babis Visits Orban in Budapest To Discuss Common Political Goals
Babis (left) and Orban (centre) with the Emir of Qatar (second left) and the former Prime Ministers of Slovenia and Austria. Credit: Andrej Babis, via Facebook.
Budapest, Aug 21 (CTK) – Czech opposition leader and former PM Andrej Babis met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban yesterday in Budapest to discuss the state of Czech-Hungarian relations and define their common political goals, the MTI Hungarian news agency has reported, citing Orban’s press office head Bertalan Havasi.
Babis, head of the opposition ANO, thanked Orban, chair of the Fidesz party, for inviting him to attend the celebrations of Hungary’s national holiday on Sunday, and to the World Athletics Championships, which is currently being held in Budapest.
MTI also noted Babis’s comments on Twitter, where he wrote that it was an honour to meet again with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and recalled his meetings with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the Qatari Emir, among other politicians.
Erdogan’s visit was part of a series of diplomatic meetings Orban held in connection with the opening of the World Athletics Championships on Saturday. Orban discussed energy issues with the presidents of Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, among others, as well as with the Turkish president.
Hungary is already receiving a large part of its gas through the TurkStream pipeline, which transports Russian gas across the Black Sea.
The AFP French news agency noted that Orban, who opposes liberal values, cordially welcomed his political friends from eastern and authoritarian countries, while Western partners, who often criticise Hungary, did not attend the celebrations in Budapest.
Orban said a month ago that “European federalists” had succeeded in winning the Czech Republic over to their side, attacking the Visegrad Group (V4), which also includes Slovakia and Poland.
“The federalists have attacked the Visegrad Four and we all can see the result: the Czechs have basically gone over (to the federalist side), Slovakia is floundering in between, only the Poles and Hungarians are holding on,” Orban said in his traditional speech to the Hungarian minority in the Romanian town of Baile Tusnad. The 2024 European Parliament elections will be a contest between “federalists and sovereigntists”, Orban added.
In response, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala told CTK that the “absurd labels” would not help the necessary cooperation between Central European countries.
“The Czech Republic is a sovereign country and my government is defending our national interests,” said Fiala, through his spokesman Vaclav Smolka. “We decide on our own what we promote, support or want to change in the EU. PM Orban was used to something else because Andrej Babis was dependent on him in European politics. One can understand his frustration in this sense. But giving absurd labels definitely won’t help the necessary cooperation of Central European countries. On the contrary, this requires mutual respect.”