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What’s behind Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Budapest?

picture of Emmanuel Macron

Hungarian daily Népszava takes a look at what Emmanuel Macron (pictured) wants to get out of his first official visit to Hungary, and determines that the trip to Budapest may help the French President advance his domestic agenda.

According to the official version, the French President will meet with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, attend a summit with leaders of the Visegrád countries, and exchange views with Hungarian opposition politicians.

However, the next few months will be critical for Macron, says Népszava, as France will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on January 1, and Macron is also vying for re-election as French President in April. Macron’s re-election chances will greatly increase, claims the Hungarian daily, if he succeeds in carrying out reforms on the future of the European Union that he has been promoting since 2017.

Notably, Emmanuel Macron is the third French presidential candidate to visit Budapest in the past few months, after Éric Zemmour and Marine Le Pen.

For Macron, therefore, there are partly domestic political reasons for this diplomatic offensive, which includes a stop in Budapest. In a Thursday opinion piece, French conservative paper Le Figaro said that Macron “wants to use Europe to destabilize his opponents in the Presidential election.”

The French President laid out his plans for the EU Presidency on Thursday at a time when the European Union is facing difficulties due to challenges from migration and the coronavirus epidemic. Macron’s visit to Budapest, suggests Népszava, may be intented to divert attention in France from the refugee issue, which the country’s right wing will want to put front and center in the country’s Presidential campaign.

[Népszava]

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