November 21, 2018 / 9:29 AM / 8 months ago

EU demands Hungary explain why ex-Macedonia PM granted asylum

FILE PHOTO: Former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (L) stands in front of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a news conference in Skopje, May 12, 2011. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban needs to offer a “sound explanation” of his country’s decision to grant political asylum to the former Macedonian prime minister, the European Union’s head of membership bids tweeted on Wednesday.

Nikola Gruevski, who fled Macedonia after being sentenced to two years in prison on corruption-related charges, said on Tuesday that he had been granted political asylum in Hungary.

Johannes Hahn, the European commissioner responsible for EU enlargement negotiations, tweeted that he had seen reports about the asylum granted in EU member Hungary.

“If confirmed, I expect a sound explanation of its grounds by @Viktor_Orban,” his tweet read.

Macedonia was officially recognised as a candidate to join the EU in 2005, but has not started accession talks.

Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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