“Respect for the rule of law, media pluralism, and the fight against discrimination are at the heart of the European project,” Macron said.

French President Emmanuel Macron traveled to Hungary’s capital on Monday for talks with the leaders of the European Union’s eastern nations, discussions likely to highlight political rifts over the scope of the EU’s authority and the bloc’s future course, AP reports.

In the afternoon, Macron held a bilateral meeting in Budapest with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a right-wing populist who has challenged the EU’s values and its jurisdiction over the affairs of the bloc’s 27 nations.

Orban and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, with whom Macron also plans to meet, have been in conflict with Brussels over the EU’s attempts to rein in governments seen as violating rule of law and democratic standards, values that Macron is eager to champion.

During a news conference after his meeting with Orban, Macron acknowledged that he had “political disagreements” with the Hungarian leader, but was “committed to work together for Europe and to be loyal partners.”

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