France’s Macron to meet Hungary’s Orban for talks on Ukraine and Europe

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French President Emmanuel Macron will meet Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban to discuss the Ukraine crisis and other issues ahead of a European Council meeting, his office said Friday.

Orban has been an outspoken critic of Europe’s stance on the war in Ukraine, accusing it of waging an “indirect war” on Russia.

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Macron will meet with Orban on Monday before the March 23-34 European Council meeting, and would also discuss energy issues and support for the European defense industry, a statement said.

EU member Hungary is highly dependent on imported Russian fuel. Orban has vowed to maintain ties with Russia, and has refused to supply weapons to Ukraine.

He has also criticized western sanctions levelled at Russia, even if Hungary eventually voted with its EU partners on this issue.

Budapest is also engaged in a long-running row with the European Union over concerns in Brussels about corruption in Hungary.

In December, Brussels froze billions of euros’ worth of funds pending anti-corruption reforms expected from Budapest.

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