Flemish PM Jan Jambon’s planned visit to Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary has drawn criticism from the opposition Groen and sp.a, who see it as a very bad sign.
Jambon is scheduled to travel to Hungary on Wednesday for a visit that has cultural, economic and political aspects. The highlight of the trip is a visit to an exposition on the Flemish masters mounted in Budapest, but Jambon will also take the opportunity to meet the controversial Hungarian Prime Minister.
“The Prime Minister’s objective is to develop contacts that can be useful to Flanders,” Jambon’s Office said. “There is no partisan or ideological interest in this contact.”
For years, Orban has been under pressure from his European colleagues for his attacks on the rule of law and freedom of the press.
For Hannelore Goeman, head of the sp.a group in the Flemish parliament, Jambon will be sipping tea “with a man who curbs press freedom, who describes migrants as poison, who undermines the rule of law, who intimidates NGOs, and who is suspected of corruption.”
Recalling the various European Parliament resolutions denouncing violations of the rule of law in Hungary, Jeremie Vaneeckhout (Groen), said the visit was a type of “misplaced recognition” for Orban.