German Chancellor Scholz gives Hungarian PM Orban cold shoulder in Berlin

German Chancellor Scholz gives Hungarian PM Orban cold shoulder in Berlin

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban dropped into Berlin on Friday ahead of Hungary taking over the rotating EU Council presidency for six months.

The populist leader visited Stuttgart, sitting next to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday for the Euro 24 Germany - Hungary football match, but politics were very much off the agenda.

This is the second time in a row that Orban has visited Scholz in Berlin without a press conference or being received with military honours - a formality normally granted for state visits.

Whilst the EU council presidency holds little power, it does choose which topics go to the top of the weekly agenda in Brussels and which are unimportant. The topics that are likely to be key for Orban's government include other member states' accession into the EU, including Serbia, Moldova and Ukraine. The Hungarian leader has also expressed interest in integrating the Western Balkan states, partially due to his friendship with Serbia. Both Orban and Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic are seen as allies of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Orban has been in the EU's bad books regarding Hungary's migration policies and anti-Ukraine stance, but despite the frosty reception, Scholz did manage to carve out time to meet Orban in between a day packed with meetings and events.

The Hungarian leader will also be visiting Italy to meet with leader Giorgia Meloni next week as decisions on the top EU jobs are made at the end of the month. At least 15 of 27 EU leaders need to back candidates for the next 5 years.