Will the EPP expel Orbán's party?

The EPP group in the European Parliament will decide today on whether to exclude Viktor Orbán's Fidesz party. Thirteen of the 48 member parties had called for the move. The Hungarian PM then called critics within the group "useful idiots" of the left, but apologised for the statement in a letter last week. Whether the group will go ahead and expel Fidesz remains unclear.

Open/close all quotes
hvg (HU) /

West's patience is at an end

Viktor Orbán has made fools of the European conservatives for long enough, hvg writes:

“But now the Fidesz story has taken an encouraging turn because Europe's right-wing conservatives, centrist conservatives, Christian democrats and others on the right have noticed that intolerable things are happening over in the East. ... In the West people don't tend to go off half cocked, and here too the people have put up with the stench of rotten eggs for years. But now a new era has dawned. The conservative family wants to put Fidesz in the corner, so that it calms down a little.”

Delo (SI) /

Basic values sacrificed to political games

Orbán will be able to slip his head out of the noose once again, Delo is sure:

“Under pressure and threatened with expulsion, Orbán was ready to take a few steps that were meant to show that he's more conciliatory than one might think. His concessions weren't meant seriously, however, and were above all tactics. The result could be that Fidesz won't be excluded but only suspended under certain conditions to be fulfilled some time after the European elections. At that time the pressure will have eased and Orbán will have more leeway. The much touted European values, the cornerstone of the EU, will once again be sacrificed to political games.”

De Standaard (BE) /

EPP must avoid losing face

Political analyst Steven van Hecke suspects in De Standaard that the EPP won't resort to drastic action this time:

“The times when the EPP wielded such power that no one cared whether it had one head of government more or less are over. All the more so now that there's the danger of Orbán forging an alternative political alliance that could be attractive for a number of other EPP parties in Central and Eastern Europe. The silence of the CDU/CSU, the power bloc at the centre of the EPP, speaks volumes. ... The EPP has enough mechanisms at its disposal to resolve internal conflicts and thus avoid losing face as far as possible.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Enough is enough

Orbán's letter of apology is a piece of impudence, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung complains:

“It is clearly aimed at pinning the blame for the break on the other side. Orbán's hair-splitting argument that he wasn't referring to 'specific politicians' but to a 'specific policy' when he described his critics within his party's own parliamentary group as 'useful idiots' is a piece for the political cabaret. ... The EPP should refuse to put up with such impertinences and boundary crossing on this matter any longer - particularly since Orbán has made it clear by omission that he won't change his behaviour. He made no mention of the real cause for the dispute.”

hvg (HU) /

Campaign carries on regardless

Although the Hungarian government has promised to end the poster campaign against George Soros and Jean-Claude Juncker there's no sign of that actually happening, notes the left-wing weekly paper hvg:

“The Soros-Juncker posters have been taken down in part, but identical images are still posted on right-wing websites, in newspapers, and on television. Here and there they end up in people's mailboxes as flyers and countless radio stations still broadcast the text. We know from our readers that a few billboards are still up, although only in the countryside. In other words, the campaign is still in full swing. It's an easy trick: of course the EU Commission and the German press isn't keeping track of all this - or so people think. And the Hungarian right is laughing up its sleeve. The whole thing is financed out of the state budget.”