Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban indicated in his latest speech that his Fidesz party doesn’t want to leave the European People’s Party (EPP). Despite speculations, press information suggests that the party family is not excluding Hungary’s ruling party either.
Although leaders of the European People’s Party “had made mistakes to our detriment” Fidesz will “undertake the more difficult task of renewing the EPP and help it find its way back to its Christian Democratic roots,” Viktor Orban said at a conference marking the first anniversary of the death of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on Saturday.
“In relation to the 2019 elections to the European Parliament, it would be easy to, say, establish a new formation from like-minded Central European parties – or, indeed, a pan-European anti-immigration formation. There is no doubt that we would have great success in the 2019 European elections. But I suggest that we resist this temptation, and stand by Helmut Kohl’s ideals and party family,”
He said that the EPP had been “slowly but continuously” losing its strength during the past 15 years because it had “created an anti-populist people’s front” as against the emerging new parties. He added, however, that this tendency should be replaced by a “Christian Democratic renaissance”.
On the same day, left-wing daily Nepszava reported that according to several Fidesz MEPs, the conservative wing of the EPP is expected to strengthen after the European elections in 2019, while the liberal wing will probably lose influence. All the MEPs expect Fidesz’s influence to grow in the party family.
Nevertheless, they examined the possibility of being excluded from the EPP, in case anti-Fidesz campaigns of the more liberal member parties and various NGOs succeed. According to the group’s rules, the whole Fidesz delegation can’t be excluded, the EPP MEPs would have to vote about the exclusion of the each Fidesz MEP separately. They don’t expect this to happen, especially because some Fidesz MEPs are holding important positions – Kinga Gal is the vice-chair of the EPP, Jozsef Szajer is the vice-chair of the group and Livia Jaroka is one of the EP’s vice-presidents -, and they vote along the group majority in 90% of the votes.
Politico’s European edition reported last week that eurosceptic parties want to form a new alliance which would include Orban, but based on his latest speech and the insider information, it’s unlikely that he would leave the EPP. However, if Fidesz is excluded, the option to form a new, eurosceptic bloc is still on the table.