The decision of the European Council has reassured the domination of Germany in the EU and at the same time a key player emerges. His name is Viktor Orban. The Hungarian prime minister, well known for his populist rhetoric and divisive stance within the EU, seems to be increasing his influence, becoming a catalyst in the negotiations on all levels. Viktor Orban, and his party Fidesz, is still a party of EPP, despite repetitive violations of party principles and frequent compromises on our party’s values.
However, there are strong voices within EPP insisting that we have to keep Orban and Fidesz on board. In terms of numbers, we need him, in terms of politics we are demonstrating weakness and lack of leadership. This was the main accusation for Manfred Weber, when he ran for the seat of the President of the European Commission.
There were bitter statements in the press talking about lack of leadership from Weber and at the end of the day his candidacy was undermined by this tolerance to Orban. Although the death of the Spitzenkandidat procedure is attributed to Macron and the liberals, the nail in the coffin was the stance of the Visegrand countries lead by Orban. The EPP group decided, instead of condemning his stance, to promote a Hungarian MEP from Fidesz for one of the seats of the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament. Finally Orban has everything: an influential EPP umbrella in Brussels, the final say on Weber’s withdrawal and his own agenda at home, consisting of violations of liberal democracy and conspiracy theories.
The question for all of us as members of EPP, who are proponents of core European values, is “for how long shall we pay for Orban?”. Because, at the end of the day EU shall reap what EU sow.