Earlier this week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held bilateral talks with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar- Kitarović, Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras, and Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Recep Akdağ.
Over the course of these whirlwind meetings, he discussed a variety of international issues with the world leaders.
Meeting with Grabar-Kitarovic
Viktor Orbán (left) with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar- Kitarović on a balcony of Budapest’s Parliament Building (Photo: MTI/PMO Press Office – Balázs Szecsődi)
According to Bertalan Havasi, Orbán’s press chief, the Hungarian Premier’s discussions with President Grabar-Kitarović were focused on regional cooperation. The two leaders agreed that the central and eastern European countries have to cooperate in debates on the future of Europe.
Th two leaders also welcome that, in their views, ‘the state of minorities is good in both countries.’
At the same time, Orbán and Grabar-Kitarović remained divided on points of conflict between their respective countries, particularly Hungary’s decision to block Croatia’s bid for membership in the OECD, which Grabar- Kitarović has argued is related to a Croatian corruption case against the chairman of Hungarian energy company MOL.
The meeting was also attended by Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister.
While in Budapest, President Grabar- Kitarović was awarded an honorary degree from Budapest’s Corvinus University.
Grabar Kitarovic receiving an honorary doctorate from Corvinus University Rector András Lánczi (Photo: MTI – Zoltán Balog)
Speaking at the award ceremony, Grabar- Kitarović said the honorary degree mandated her to further pursue her scientific as well her political work at the same time. She said that a safer future had to be ensured for the younger generations, emphasizing the importance of sustainable development and conflict resolution.
Presenting the award, Corvinus Rector András Lánczi pointed out that Grabar-Kitarović was the first woman to be elected president in Croatia since the country’s first multi-party elections in 1990.
The rector added that Grabar-Kitarović had worked hard to ensure that Croatia and Hungary maintained and strengthened their bilateral relations. He also expressed his view that the Croatian president has greatly contributed to strengthening bilateral ties by focusing on what binds the two countries together, as well as on the central European values they represent.
A Tour and Working Lunch with Tsipras
Orbán showing the Holy Crown of St. Stephen and the rest of the Hungarian crown jewels to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Photo: MTI/PMO Press Office – Balázs Szecsődi)
After giving his Greek counterpart a tour of Budapest’s Parliament Building, Orbán and Alexis Tsipras held a working lunch, where they exchanged views on challenges faced by the EU. T
he two leaders discussed cooperation between central Europe and the Balkan region, as well as the future of the EU’s ties with Turkey. They the possibility of boosting trade between Hungary and Greece. Péter Szijjártó also attended the meeting.
Meeting with Recep Akdağ
Orban receiving Turkish Deputy PM Recep Akdağ in the Parliament Building (Photo: MTI/PMO Press Office – Balázs Szecsődi)
During talks between Orbán and Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, the two discussed economic cooperation, as well as the current status of Europe.
During the meeting, which was also attended by Trade Péter Szijjártó, the parties agreed that, in the light of data from the first two quarters of 2017, it is realistic to expect that bilateral trade between the two countries could reach $3 billion USD.
Orbán and Akdağ also agreed to continue bilateral business cooperation in third markets, primarily in Africa. In addition, as we have previously reported, earlier this year the Hungarian Premier received an invitation from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to visit Ankara, an offer which Orbán accepted. In exchange, Orbán invited the Turkish leader to Budapest.
President Erdogan is a highly controversial figure, with critics accusing him of attacking freedom of the press and amassing dictatorial powers for himself. In particular, a referendum this spring, whose results have been described as ‘rigged’ by foreign observers, granted Erdogan sweeping new powers that cement his increasingly autocratic hold on Turkey. In fact, Orbán came into criticism of his own when he became the only head of an EU country to congratulate the Turkish President on the referendum results.
Via MTI, Hungary Matters, kormany.hu, and total-croatia-news.com
Images via kormany.hu, MTI