Hungary’s Orban to meet Macron ahead of EU summit

BUDAPEST (Reuters) -Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban will meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday, his press chief said, ahead of an EU summit at which talks on Ukraine’s joining the bloc and financial aid for Kyiv will meet resistance from Orban.

Orban on Monday demanded that the leaders’ summit avoid taking any decision on giving Ukraine the green light for membership talks and deciding a budget plan that includes 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in economic support for Kyiv.

Orban, who has maintained ties with Moscow even as the EU has imposed sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine, is at odds with the EU’s executive body on his stance.

Any decision on accession talks requires the unanimous support of EU leaders.

“On this occasion, the two leaders will talks about various topics on the Dec. 14-15 European Council’s agenda: (…) European support to Ukraine, the situation in the Middle-East, all matters related to the enlargement and the reform of the European Union (…),” the French presidential palace said in a statement.

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(Reporting by Krisztina Than, additional reporting by Michel Rose in Paris; Editing by Alex Richardson and Angus MacSwan)