Is Kurz really an ally for Orban?

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban’s visit to Vienna is not exactly what he wanted, but he has several things in common with Austria’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Austrian daily Die Presse reports.

Some in Orban’s environment hailed Kurz’s victory as if they had won the Austrian elections themselves, but some have been cautious from the beginning, warning that Kurz is „still very young”, so it’s hard to tell what to expect from him. The article reminds that those some expected Kurz to clearly side with the Visegrad Group, his first trips led to Paris, Brussels and Berlin.

Viktor Orban visits Vienna next Tuesday, and while Government Spokesman Zoltan Kovacs called it a „working visit”, other sources described it as an informal meeting. Accordingly, no press conference is planned. Sources say Kurz is not seen as Orban’s ally in Budapest, but their pragmatic, right-wing moderate worldview makes them compatible, and they respect each other.

Austrian sources say Orban unsuccessfully tried to convince Kurz to visit Budapest, but Hungarian sources say an official visit by Kurz was already fixed for February, but Orban wanted to meet him before the European Council summit in February. Instead of bilateral issues, they’re more likely to discuss EU policies, and migration, on which they agree as both support border protection instead of relocation quotas. Kurz is set to visit Budapest late February or the beginning of March, but this hasn’t been confirmed by Vienna yet.

Now that the Austrian government’s worldview is closer to that of Orban, Hungary’s government wants to act more proactively, to come up with joint initiatives instead of always positioning themselves against something. On the long term, they also want to change the rules for voting, thus the treaties, because „if Germany and France agree on something and the Benelux states join them, they have already won”. Hungary is also worried that the ministers of interior will decide about relocation quotas with a qualified majority again.

Orban wants to discuss the European Commission’s Article 7 procedure against Poland, because even though Kurz has sided with Brussels on this issue, Orban wants to protect Warsaw, so he wants to talk to Kurz again about it. A lunch is planned for 1pm, and Orban will also meet FPÖ vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, separately. Orban is said to have maintaining informal ties with FPÖ for years. He also meets former chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, but not President Alexander Van der Bellen. Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl visit Budapest in March.

Hungary Journal
Photo: Kormany.hu

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