Indefinite suspension of Orban’s Fidesz from EPP seems likely

EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (C) arrives for the European People's Party (EPP) Political Assembly at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 20 March 2019.

Indefinite suspension of Orban’s Fidesz from EPP seems likely


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An indefinite suspension of Fidesz, the Hungarian right-wing party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, from the European People’s Party (EPP) is becoming more likely after the Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) new chief, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, weighed in on the topic before a political assembly vote,

She stopped short of calling for Fidesz’s formal expulsion from the EPP, but Kramp-Karrenbauer did seem to hint that she strongly supports a six-month freeze of the party’s membership. Orban, however, may not allow the EPP to suspend Fidesz and could instead decide to leave the Conservative party bloc altogether.

“A statutory freezw of membership and related rights, as conceived by (EPP’s Spitzenkandidat Manfred) Weber, would be a viable option,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer. The CDU is the largest EPP member party and therefore has special weight in the vote.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said Orban had apologized to other EPP parties for his unacceptable campaign against European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, but not all have accepted his attempt at extending an olive branch.

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The pro-government Hungarian daily “Magyar Nemzet” quoted government officials who said that a temporary suspension for Orban would be unacceptable.

The Hungarian government’s anti-EU poster campaign that specifically targeted Juncker and Hungarian-born US billionaire George Soros sparked outrage within the EU institutions which later led to 13 EPP parties to call for Orban and Fidesz to suspended

Pro-Orban parties in the EPP are hoping that a vote won’t ever have to take place while Orban tries to convince the Political Assembly of his right to “auto-expulsion”.

Speaking on German radio, Juncker took a harder line than Kramp-Karrenbauer, saying that Fidesz needed to be removed from the EPP family.

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