EU top jobs kickoff — finding compromise with Viktor Orbán

In this episode we look at the ongoing tug-of-war between Budapest and Brussels in the context of a rather shocking development that could pave the way for Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán — who has won a reputation as the bloc's biggest troublemaker — to chair meetings of EU leaders and set the EU agenda.

It follows a surprising decision by European Council President Charles Michel to step down and run for a seat in the European Parliament.

Host Sarah Wheaton and colleagues Barbara Moens and Hans von der Burchard delve into the quibbles and clashes Viktor Orbán has had with Brussels over the years, and how the EU has tried to play ball with the Hungarian leader. And yes — they also report on the infamous "toilet break" Viktor Orbán took at the last EU summit in December, which paved the way for accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova.

Then Sarah and Nick Vinocur, POLITICO's editor-at-large, talk to Professor Alberto Alemanno, an expert on EU law who has taken a hard line on Hungary, and who has even suggested Budapest be stripped of the EU's rotating presidency. 

Finally, we bring you a Hungarian perspective from our guest Frank Füredi, executive director of the Brussels office of Hungary's government-backed MCC think tank.

We also recommend you listen to the latest episode of our sister podcast, Power Play. Host Anne McElvoy talks to Latvian Foreign Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (a contender for the job of NATO's next secretary-general) and gets his reaction to Michel's shocking decision.

Here is the link: Taking on Russia: Krišjānis Kariņš’ pitch to lead NATO and defend Ukraine – POLITICO.


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