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Hungary Criticized For Blocking EU Statements On China, Middle East

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

BUDAPEST -- A senior German official has rebuked Hungary for blocking European Union statements on Hong Kong and the Middle East, saying the bloc’s common foreign and security policy was being undermined by a failure of unanimity.

"Hungary again blocked an EU statement on Hong Kong. Three weeks ago it was on the Middle East. Common foreign and security policy cannot work on the basis of a blocking policy," German Foreign Office State Secretary Miguel Berger tweeted on June 3.

Berger added that the EU needs "a serious debate on ways to manage dissent, including qualified majority voting."

Previous attempts to replace EU requirements for unanimous decisions with a simple majority have failed.

Berger’s call comes after Hungary blocked an EU statement in April criticizing a national-security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong last year, undermining the bloc's efforts to confront China’s attacks against freedoms in the former British colony. And last month, Budapest declined to back a call for a cease-fire in a conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

The German official's remarks indicate growing frustration with the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, which has faced accusations of backsliding on democracy.

With reporting by Reuters
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