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Brussels, my love? Orbán's trip to Kyiv and Moscow

Méabh Mc Mahon with Shada Islam, Richard Schenk and Antonios Nestoras
Méabh Mc Mahon with Shada Islam, Richard Schenk and Antonios Nestoras Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Méabh Mc Mahon
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In this edition, host Méabh Mc Mahon asks what difference a Hungary-led EU Council presidency could make, and hears why Vienna's the place to be.


Our guests for week are Shada Islam from the New Horizons Project, Richard Schenk from MCC Brussels, and Antonios Nestoras from the European Liberal Forum.

Panelists comment on a changing of the guard at meetings of EU ministers — where Belgium has passed the presidency baton to the much more controversial pick of Hungary.

Armed with the provocative slogan "Make Europe Great Again", Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán started his six-month stint with a bang.

After visiting Brussels, he popped to Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, before making a surprise trip to Russia to see Vladimir Putin.

His trip to Kyiv was welcomed by European leaders, but the one to Moscow, perhaps understandably, didn't go down so well.

There's no cause for concern, says Richard Schenk.

"We will not see a new type of Viktor Orbán," Schenk said.

"He's the longest serving prime minister in Europe by now," he said, adding that based on Budapest's previous turn at the helm in 2011, "we know that Hungary is not going to throw rocks deliberately into the European machinery".

Panelists also reflected on the recent decision by EU leaders to appoint Ursula von der Leyen, Kaja Kallas and António Costa to head the main EU institutions, with the first two still needing a green light from the European Parliament.

Shada Islam said the trio make up a "good team".

Costa "changes the colour of European leadership," she said.

"He has some Mozambican blood," she added. "Brussels, so white, finally has a leader who is not so white, and hopefully not in his head either, in the way he looks at the world".

Richard Schenk disagreed.

"This trio is confirming the worst prejudices in Europe in this regard that politicians who struggled at a national level are escaping to Brussels to continue their careers," he said.

Watch "Brussels, my love?" in the player above. Recording took place before Orbán's meeting with Putin.

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