Tagged Putin

The streets of Budapest on Sunday, 1 February, were full of people demonstrating against their government. The policies of Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, are widely seen as pro-Russian. The timing of the demonstration was also chosen to maximize the reach of their message, as Angela Merkel was expected in Hungary in order to address the government’s commitment to EU sanctions against Russia. Angela Merkel did arrive in Budapest on Monday, 2 February, and held a joint press conference after her talks with Orban. It did not look that their meeting had gone well.

The recent escalation of fighting in Eastern Ukraine challenges once again Europe’s position. The differences in opinion among EU members regarding the severity of the sanctions against Russia reflect the varied historical trajectories of the European countries. Traditionally, Italy finds itself on the moderate side on matters regarding Russia, while Poland squarely in the hawkish camp. The recent events and Polish reactions regarding the possible visit to Auschwitz by Mr Putin are indicative of these tensions.

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