Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is threatening – this time in the direction of his own conservative party family in the EU: the members of his Fidesz party would resign from the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, Orbán said. That step would inevitably come if the EPP Group changes its Rules of Procedure.
Orbán wrote this in a letter to EPP parliamentary group leader Manfred Weber (CSU), which Fidesz vice-chairwoman Katalin Novák published on Twitter on Sunday. Orban is also chairman of the right-wing national Fidesz party.
The top of the EPP group proposed the change to the rules of procedure on Friday. This is to clear the way for whole groups to be suspended or excluded from the parliamentary group. Under certain conditions, this would only require a majority of over 50 percent of the votes cast.
“We do not allow ourselves to be blackmailed”
The conservative party family EVP, which also includes the CDU and CSU, has been wrestling with the Hungarian member party for years. Fidesz’s EPP membership was put on hold in 2019 – among other things because of alleged violations of EU fundamental values and verbal attacks on the then EU Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker. The Fidesz MEPs have so far continued to belong to the group in the European Parliament.
That could change after the proposed modification of the rules of procedure. The group is due to vote on the amendment next Wednesday. The suspension could stand in the following weeks – if the Fidesz Group does not anticipate this by leaving.
The planned change would lead to the “legally questionable suspension of our elected MEPs in the EPP group,” Orbán writes in his letter to Weber. “If Fidesz is not welcome, then we do not feel obliged to remain in the group.”
The Fidesz critics in the group, on the other hand, hold: “We will not allow ourselves to be blackmailed!” Said the Austrian MP Othmar Karas in the direction of his Hungarian group colleagues. “I will not give up on positioning the EPP Group as the guardian of values and law in a credible manner, also internally.” The rules of procedure will be changed as planned on Wednesday.
A faction insider told SPIEGEL on Sunday: “I hope Orbán keeps his word. For many, the threat is only an incentive to continue. “There must now be a clear demarcation in the direction of Fidesz.