The European People’s Party (EPP) will not change course and has made clear that those wishing to belong to the party family are expected to endorse its values, Manfred Weber, the EPP’s group leader in the European Parliament, said on Tuesday, in reaction to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s remarks on his Fidesz party’s membership.
Speaking at a press conference last Thursday, Orban said Fidesz was not interested in the EPP in its current form, and a change was needed within the party family. “The EPP is shrinking and losing influence, positions and seats because it is heading in the wrong direction, a liberal, Socialist, centrist direction,” Orban said.
Weber, at a press conference on the sidelines of the EP’s plenary session in Strasbourg on Tuesday, said the Fidesz MEPs sitting in the EPP are “reliable” and contribute to the work of the grouping. Regarding Orban’s call for change, he said the EPP will not change its direction but will “watch the developments of the coming days carefully to see if there are any positive changes”.
Noting the EPP’s 40 percent support in last year’s European parliamentary elections, Weber said the EPP did not require “lecturing in politics or the elections”. “Our guidelines and values are clear,” he said.
The EPP should strengthen its dedication to centre-right politics, the deputy leader of ruling Fidesz said on Monday after meeting senior German politicians in Berlin. Katalin Novak, who is also the state secretary for family and youth affairs at the human resources ministry, told public media that whereas “many people try to give the impression that Fidesz could be simply expelled” from the EPP and the party was idly waiting for a decision, “this is actually not the case at all”.
Fidesz is actively pursuing a form of cooperation which would “be the best possible way for Hungarians and also Europeans.” “We hope the EPP will be capable of protecting and representing classic centre-right politics and Christian values in the future” and “it will not shift further left,” she added. “We are very much counting on our German allies because a sober voice and a centre-right political force are much needed also in Germany,” Novak said.