China Sees Opportunity in Hungary's EU Council Presidency

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.25 - 2024 12:49 PM CET

Photo: Alessia Pierdimenico /
Photo: Alessia Pierdimenico /
China is hoping for a more favorable stance from the European Union during Hungary's upcoming presidency.

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China has expressed optimism about Hungary's upcoming presidency of the European Union (EU) Council, hoping it will lead to a more "positive and pragmatic policy towards China."

This sentiment was discussed during a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Hungarian counterpart, Péter Szijjártó, as reported by European Truth.

China's Expectations

During the meeting, Wang Yi praised Hungary for its "perseverance" in being "a force for peace and a factor of stability in Europe." He also commended Hungary's commitment to "deepening cooperation with China."

"The mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Hungary across various fields has yielded fruitful results that not only benefit the two peoples but also convincingly prove that China is an opportunity for Europe, not a challenge," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the ministerial meeting.

Wang Yi mentioned Hungary's upcoming presidency of the EU Council, expressing hope that Budapest "will contribute to the EU considering China's development in a rational and friendly manner," leading to a more positive approach toward China and strengthening strategic relations between the two sides.

Szijjártó welcomed China's support for global peace and stability, emphasizing that Hungary-China and EU-China relations play a crucial role in promoting sustainable development amid growing international instability.

Challenges Surrounding Hungary's EU Presidency

Despite China's optimism, the European Parliament recently passed a resolution criticizing Hungary's adherence to EU values, highlighting issues that could impact its future EU Council presidency. Concerns were raised about Hungary's approach to human rights, governance, and the rule of law.

Reports suggest that during Hungary's six-month presidency of the EU Council, the country will focus on combating illegal migration and promoting EU integration of the Western Balkans, with limited emphasis on climate issues.

In late December, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated that Hungary's presidency in the second half of 2024 would take a more "peace-making" approach, with the goal to "occupy Brussels."

Orbán also controversially compared Hungary's EU membership to Soviet occupation, signaling his skepticism toward EU leadership.

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