Foreign Minister Criticises Orbán’s ‘Peace Mission’

Foreign Minister Criticises Orbán’s ‘Peace Mission’

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg speaking in the Austrian parliament in November 2023, Parlamentsdirektion/Ulrike Wieser


Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg criticised Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s self-described “peace mission” but stopped short of endorsing a boycott, in a wide-ranging interview with Austrian radio on Wednesday.

“I believe that we will work together professionally,” Schallenberg said in response to reports that representatives from several EU countries had stayed away from an EU meeting chaired by Hungary on Tuesday.

Hungary assumed the EU Council’s rotating presidency on July 1, a day after Orbán announced the creation of a new right-wing alliance in the EU parliament.

Schallenberg insisted that Orbán must “explain” his recent trips to Kyiv, Moscow and Beijing.

“He did not speak on behalf of the European Union. He has no mandate, no commission. We should draw clear lines, but also keep things in perspective.”

Orbán described his trips as “peace mission 3.0” aimed at ending the war in Ukraine. During these visits, he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russian President Vladimir Putin (who is under EU sanctions and an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes in Ukraine), and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

However, Schallenberg stressed the importance of bringing Putin back to the negotiating table as the conflict continues.

He also highlighted the potential role of India, whose Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently visiting Vienna – the first visit by an Indian head of state since 1983. According to Schallenberg, India holds significant influence in the global South and maintains a close relationship with Moscow.

Read more: Indian Leader in Historic Visit to Vienna

A new report from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, published today, shows that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused one of Europe’s largest migrations since World War II, with 5.9 million people fleeing Ukraine by mid-2023 and an additional 5.1 million internally displaced.

Read more: Ukraine War Triggers Historic Migration Across Europe

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