Has the EPP let Orbán boss it around?
The conservative European People's Party passed a resolution on the weekend in which it reaffirms its commitment to protecting EU values and preserving democracy. However, at the behest of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz the term 'liberal democracy' was dropped from the text. Certain Hungarian media see the result as a half-hearted declaration while others see it as a hopeful sign.
Conservatives will continue to turn a blind eye
The EPP has only shown Fidesz the yellow card, Népszava laments:
“Unfortunately it is unlikely that Fidesz will be given a red card even if it continues - as is quite likely - not to play according to the rules of democracy. Because the EPP has elected Manfred Weber as its lead candidate, the man who is known as the 'good-hearted judge'. He wants to become the next Commission president. We can expect him to look the other way or stick to minor admonishments when Fidesz violates rights in the future. But with this stance Weber will harm not just his own reputation but that of his party, the EPP.”
Party can overcome identity crisis
It's good that the term 'liberal democracy' is not mentioned in the EPP's resolution, writes Mariann Öry, head of the foreign desk at the pro-government daily Magyar Hírlap:
“Instead the terms 'Christian democracy' and 'the value of the family' were adopted. For the European People's Party that should go without saying. Unfortunately, however, at the moment the EPP has to be prodded into heading in the right direction. Perpetual concessions to the Liberals, Social Democrats and Greens have lead to an identity crisis in the EPP that reflects the identity crisis in Europe as a whole. It speaks for the party having a strong immune system that the Liberals around Alexander Stubb - who want nothing better than to lay down their arms and surrender to the forces of ethno-cultural masochism - were unable to prevail.”