In a recent interview with Politico, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, one of the EU’s main bodies, discussed his relationship with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, as well as the importance of Hungary to the Union.
Speaking to Politico, the influential EU leader touched on controversial issues such as Brexit, the future of the European Union, and the presidency of Donald Trump, before turning his attention to Central Europe. Discussing the “problems” that the Union faces with regards to both Poland and Hungary—particularly due to the two countries’ refusals to participate in the EU’s refugee resettlement plan, as well as issues such as the controversial “Lex CEU” and anti-NGO legislation—Juncker said that Warsaw will be “more lonely after Brexit” than Budapest.
When asked about the difference between dealing with Polish leaders and Viktor Orbán, the EC President said
Well, I’ve got a caring relationship with Orbán. We talk regularly, I see him regularly — even if it’s not always made public — because I think I do not want to lose Hungary.
This “caring relationship” has been on public display on more than one occasion. In January of 2015, Orbán approached to shake Juncker’s hand, when a rather interesting thing happened:
And if getting dragged across a room by a 60-year-old man wasn’t enough, Orbán would have another rather unorthodox meeting with Juncker later in that same year. On this occasion, the EC President can be hear telling the Latvian Prime Minister and European Council President Donald Tusk that “the dictator is coming”, before greeting Hungary’s Premier with, bizarrely enough, a slap:
You can read Politico’s article in its entirety here.
Image via Politco/ Olivier Hoslet/EPA
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