Ahead of the summit, some diplomats and officials ramped up pressure by spelling out via anonymous briefings and leaks what consequences Hungary might face, such as damage to its economy and a freeze on Budapest’s right to vote on EU decisions.
Others expressed doubts over whether the EU would have gone that far. But the reports added to the sense that leaders were ready to play hardball with Mr Orban.
“We have been working for a week in a growing group of countries for a clear-cut position,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters, after the summit.
“We are to be 27, the whole community, and nobody is going to pay anybody for it (a deal). There will be no rewards, and nobody will be looking for rotten compromises.”
That message was also conveyed at an eve-of-summit dinner, attended by most of the EU’s leaders.
“The tensions were tangible during dinner yesterday, the talks tough… Everyone was angry at him,” said one diplomat.
“It reached boiling point,” said another.
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