On Tuesday, an opinion piece was published on CNN, stating that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are both allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The author suggests, therefore, that Hungary and Turkey should be made “irrelevant.”
The article calls Orbán Putin’s closest ally in the European Union, mentioning that he “has threatened to veto proposed sanctions on Russian oil that the other 26 member states have approved.” Drawing parallels between the EU and NATO, the article continues: “Similarly in NATO, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not looking favorably at the possible accession of historically neutral powers Finland and Sweden, and on which the rest of the alliance is supportive of them joining.”
CNN writes that thanks to such allies:
Putin may be perfectly positioned to continue on his current path in Ukraine or beyond — with impunity.”
The op-ed also mentioned European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to Budapest, on which we have also reported. It says that “von der Leyen could report only that she’d succeeded in “clarify[ing] issues” with the Hungarian strongman.”
The article says that the solution to these “toxic delays being forced by Hungary and Turkey” is to do “crave-outs:”
Make Orbán and Erdoğan irrelevant. All 26 other EU members should simply implement the oil embargo. And NATO should simply pave the way for Sweden and Finland’s accession.
What’s the worst Hungary or Turkey could do — sue? Pull out?”
Harvard Professor Robert I. Rotberg seems to agree with the idea: “You are absolutely right to urge the EU to just forge ahead without Hungary. The ‘unanimity’ rule was foolish to begin with and now is the time to test it.” He adds, however, that “Hungary could refer the decision to the European Court of Justice — which is both bad and good.”
As Index reports, another reading of the oil embargo issue is that Brussels made the decision on the embargo hastily, without due preparation, and neglecting practical economic considerations, which proved that the veto’s control of Brussels’ decision-making by member states was justified. (A former MEP wrote an opinion piece on this on Index).
CNN also mentions the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court. Rotberg believes that this “would be a good place to try Erdoğan, Orbán, Putin, and many more. That is why it is needed. So, we are moving.” Such a court is being actively pursued by Rotberg together with a group consisting of some 40 former heads of state and an equal number of Nobel Prize winners, CNN writes. The article also mentions that “Putin has been playing on the concept of unanimity for years.”
“Now is the time for democracies to dig in their heels and proclaim that enough is enough — that right will be forced to triumph. In the end, we will all be stronger for it,” the article concludes.
The CNN op-ed was written by David A. Andelman, a veteran foreign correspondent, author, and commentator who contributes frequently to CNN Opinion on global affairs. To read the full article, click here.
Featured image via Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI