Bucharest Nine considers ousting Hungary from future talks

Viktor Orbán
Viktor Orbán

Diplomats from the Bucharest Nine (B9), a coalition of Eastern European NATO and EU allies, have discussed the possibility of excluding Hungary from future meetings, people familiar with the talks said, the Financial Times reported on June 11.

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Hungary has vetoed joint conclusions by the group related to increased aid to Ukraine at recent meetings, and endorsements of any moves by NATO to beef up military support to the country or to expedite its bid to become a member of the alliance, the FT said.

Hungary’s blocking tactics in the EU regarding aid to Ukraine and Kyiv’s accession talks have also seen many allies run out of patience.

B9 leaders meet in Riga on June 11, and officials say that Hungary is again refusing to endorse a draft statement that the others have agreed.

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The discussions on excluding Budapest are “very serious,” said one of the sources.

“We are likely meeting in this format for the last time,” the source said.

Recent meetings featured “tough” discussions; it would be difficult to organize future gatherings unless they became more collaborative, another source said.

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The B9 organization, founded in 2015, includes Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.

Their leaders and foreign and defense ministers regularly convene to coordinate their approaches to security policy, particularly related to the defense of eastern borders.

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