Viktor Orban arrives in Russia

Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban arrives in Russia to meet Vladimir Putin on Tuesday with both states under diplomatic siege. Will the two downplay their political affair in front of Europe’s judging eyes?
Daily Briefing: Orban to Russia as EU grills Poland

Nominally, there is nothing notable about Orban’s one-day visit: he was last in Moscow just two months ago for the World Cup final, and the agenda made public for the face-to-face with the Russian president is geopolitically juicy, but hardly novel.

The two countries are due to renegotiate a gas supply agreement that runs to the end of 2019 – a deal will almost certainly get done at some point, though not necessarily this week, and any uncertainty will likely be over the financial terms.

With four years of Brussels-imposed bureaucratic delays, Russia is free to go ahead with the construction of two new reactors at Paks, the vast Warsaw Pact-era nuclear power plant that produces most of Hungary’s energy. Funded primarily with Russia’s own money – in the form of a €10 billion loan – the project brings obvious benefits to both sides, and discussions will focus on dates, rather than any existential questions. Preliminary site work on the first reactor began earlier this year despite continuing legal challenges, with the two reactors scheduled to become operational in the middle of the next decade.

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