Hungary urged on Monday a tamping down of speculation over whether Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who's had repeated run-ins with the EU, could end up temporarily helming one of the bloc's key bodies.
European Council President Charles Michel unexpectedly announced Sunday that he would step down early to stand in the European Parliament elections scheduled for June.
Because Hungary will hold the EU's rotating six-month presidency from July, the bloc's current rules mean Orban could serve as temporary head if members don't manage to agree on Michel's permanent replacement.
“To all those voices wondering whether Prime Minister Viktor Orban could serve as an interim President of the European Council, should the European Council President become an MEP: Let's preserve our strategic calmness,” Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs wrote on X.
The Hungarian leader previously said “strategic calmness” means to “speak little, but then do it in a precise, responsible manner.”
Orban, already in a fight with Brussels over billions of euros in frozen EU funding to develop his own economy and the EU leader closest to Moscow, has stood in the way of a new funding package for Ukraine.
Regarding the possibility of Orban being temporary Council president, Michel noted that current procedures could be “changed by a simple majority” vote.
“There are many tools if there would be the political will to avoid Viktor Orban,” said the Belgian politician on Sunday as he defended his decision to quit early.
The 48-year-old former Belgian prime minister has been organizing EU summits and government meetings since 2019.
Michel said he will remain as the council president until he is sworn in as a European parliament deputy, which is scheduled for July 16.
Hungary is due to take over the rotating presidency of the 27-member group from July 1.
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