Trump invites Hungary's Orban to White House

Washington (AFP) –


US President Donald Trump is to host Hungary's firebrand anti-immigration Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the White House next week, officials said on Tuesday.

"President Donald J. Trump will welcome Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary to the White House on May 13, 2019," the administration said in a statement.

"Recognizing the longstanding ties between the United States and Hungary, the president and the prime minister will discuss ways to deepen cooperation on a range of issues, including trade, energy, and cyber security."

As leaders of NATO countries, the statement said, Trump and Orban will "explore opportunities to meet the many national security responsibilities of their two countries."

Orban's anti-immigration campaigns in Europe echo many of the themes of Trump's own drive to build a wall on the US-Mexico border and his attempts to thwart migrants seeking US asylum.

With elections to the European Parliament to be held later this month, Orban's hardline -- some say xenophobic -- stance against refugees and "Brussels bureaucrats" has alienated even former conservative allies.

His Fidesz party was suspended in March from the EU's biggest and most influential political grouping, the conservative European Peoples Party, after running a controversial billboard campaign accusing European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker of plotting to flood Europe with migrants.

On Monday, Orban withdrew his support for the EPP's lead candidate to replace Juncker, Manfred Weber of Germany, a former ally.

Weber said Tuesday that Hungary was going in the "wrong direction" under Orban.