Orban Endorses Iohannis for NATO Secretary General and Schengen Inclusion

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jun.03 - 2024 10:01 PM CET

Photo: lev radin / Shutterstock.com
Photo: lev radin / Shutterstock.com
Hungary's PM backs Romanian President for top NATO role during Romania visit

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced his endorsement of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis for the position of NATO Secretary General and advocated for Romania’s full membership in the Schengen Area.

This announcement was made during Orban’s visit to Romania, as reported by Maszol.ro.

Orban’s Support in Romania

On Monday, Orban attended an electoral event in Salonta, Bihor County, aimed at boosting the UDMR candidates for the upcoming European Parliament elections on June 9.

During his speech, Orban emphasized Hungary’s backing of Iohannis for the NATO role and Romania’s Schengen accession, including land borders.

This move aligns Hungary with Romania's strategic goals and signals a united front within Eastern Europe.

Orban is not the sole Hungarian official showing support for Iohannis. In late May, Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto also expressed his approval during a visit to Târgu Mureș.

Opposition to Mark Rutte’s Candidacy

Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s Foreign Minister, was vocal about Hungary’s opposition to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s bid for NATO Secretary General.

Szijjarto cited Rutte's critical comments about Hungary as a reason for their stance. He further expressed pleasure at the prospect of an Eastern European candidate taking the role.

"In the current consensus within NATO, all challenges are perceived to be coming from the East. Everyone wants to strengthen NATO's eastern flank.

Given these circumstances, it makes sense for the Secretary General to also come from the East," Szijjarto stated.

Divergence within NATO

Despite Hungary's support, a majority of NATO member states, including the United States, have thrown their weight behind Mark Rutte for the Secretary General position.

By endorsing Klaus Iohannis, Orban underscores the importance of Eastern Europe's voice in global security affairs. The support for Romania’s Schengen membership also reinforces Hungary’s commitment to regional cooperation and integration.

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