Hungarian PM jokes about German chancellor ‘being still alive’
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban held talks with German chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Monday, which, according to media reports, centered around the EU’s response to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. After wrapping up negotiations, the Hungarian PM joked about himself and the German leader still being this side of the grave.
“I’m glad I can tell you that he [Scholz] is still alive. So am I,” Orban quipped after a two-hour meeting with the German chancellor, which he described as “fruitful.”
Having discussed some difficult topics, both sides ended up being content with the negotiations, Orban added, without going into further detail.
Scholz’s office did not comment on the meeting.
Departing from protocol, the German side did not hold a joint press conference following the talks, Der Spiegel noted.
According to its report, it’s usual that such an event is held after the leader of a fellow EU state pays an official visit to Germany.
The media outlet claimed that Scholz and Orban mostly talked about the European Union’s response to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. Despite consistently criticizing the bloc’s sanctions, Hungary has still given the green light to all the restrictions Brussels has slapped on Moscow.
Budapest’s main gripe is that the curb on Russian energy imports has hurt the bloc more than the intended target, with European citizens forced to pick up the tab.
In late September, Hungary announced plans to hold an opinion poll to gauge support for the sanctions.
Aside from Chancellor Scholz, the Hungarian PM also met with his predecessor Angela Merkel and another high-level politician from the opposition Christian Democratic Party, Armin Laschet.
Merkel’s office has refused to comment on “non-public personal conversations.”
Katarina Barley from Germany’s ruling Social Democratic Party, who serves as the Vice President of the European parliament, branded Orban the “biggest disgrace of the European Union.”
The Hungarian leader has long been the target of criticism within the bloc, with his government now standing accused of allegedly misusing EU money.