The European Union will not be an official participant in U.S. President Joe Biden’s summit on democracy thanks to a Hungarian veto. According to a Bloomberg article, Hungary torpedoed the EU’s plans because Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (pictured) was excluded from the online event.
The veto from the Hungarian side came up in discussions on Wednesday between the EU ambassadors, claims the news site, with the justification that the United States did not invite all member states individually. As previously reported, Hungary was alone in European Union member states in not getting an invitation to the virtual meeting on December 9-10, to which the leaders of around 110 other countries were invited.
The Hungarian envoy argued that the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, could not speak on behalf of the European Union as a whole because they had not agreed on a common position.
Due to the veto, the Commission’s Legal Service says the EU will not be able to submit a joint written draft to the summit, although Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel will be able to speak at the event, representing prior agreements.
Hungary has been at odds with the European Union for years over matters concerning the rule of law, such as press freedom and the independence of the judiciary.
This also isn’t the first time that Hungary has frustrated EU-wide decisions. The member state prevented the EU from formulating a common stance on the issues of human rights in Hong Kong and gender equality, Bloomberg points out.