Is Orbán out to sever all ties with the EPP?

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has withdrawn his support for the EPP's leading candidate Manfred Weber in the European elections. He gave as his reason Weber's comment that he would not want to become president of the EU Commission if it depended on Fidesz votes. Commentators interpret this as a final break with the EPP and speculate about the future for Orbán and Weber.

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Welcome excuse

Orbán seems to have been feverishly looking for an opportunity to distance himself from the European People's Party (EPP), Gazeta Wyborcza believes:

“There are many indications that after the election Orbán will pull away from the Christian Democrats and join the populists. He's just looking for an excuse to convince the EU supporters in Hungary that despite the best intentions Fidesz could not remain in the EPP. Perhaps Manfred Weber, the EPP candidate for the presidency of the European Commission, has provided him with an excuse. Weber said on [German broadcaster] ZDF a good month ago that if his election depended on the support of Orbán's party, he would not take office.” (DE) /

No need to woo the troublemaker anymore

The break means clarity and is a good signal for Europe's democracy, comments

“For all too long Weber and his EPP had turned two blind eyes to repeated effrontery from Budapest in order to avoid conflict in the conservative camp. In particular, however, Weber's party friends from the CSU - and above all former party leader Horst Seehofer - had, during the refugee crisis and afterwards, carelessly hatched schemes with the Hungarian troublemaker and paid him court. ... Now at last there has been a clean cut and the leading candidate Weber no longer has to give long explanations when confronted with critical questions about why, in spite of everything, he still regards Orban as a potential partner.”

Mérce (HU) /

Now he can live out fascist ideas

Commenting in Mérce, left-wing philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás is also glad to see clarity finally emerging after all the beating around the bush:

“At last Viktor Orbán is joining forces with those who share his ideals. His press office (which as the state press is considered the official source) also made it clear beforehand where Orbán's gets his ideas. The term 'population replacement' that he claims is what Europe (Brussels) wants, stems from the famous book - Le Grand Remplacement - by the fascist writer Renaud Camus. Mandiner [a pro-government website] conducted an interview with this leading fascist figure, which in itself is a criminal offence. ... If you read the works of neo-fascist authors, then you will hear the very same words coming out of the mouths of official sources close to the government or in favour of it. ”

Magyar Hírlap (HU) /

The FPÖ sensed approaching disaster long ago

Orbán made his announcement in Vienna where he was meeting with Austria's Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache from the FPÖ. A good partner, writes the pro-government daily Magyar Hírlap approvingly:

“For decades the FPÖ has been drawing attention to the dangers of immigration and the creeping focus of the EU on Brussels. ... But it was not until the refugee crisis, which saw millions of people travelling through Europe, that the issue became part of everyday political discourse. In recent years it has emerged as an unavoidable truth that it is not only the refugees seeking temporary asylum who are a burden for Europe but also the millions of illegal economic refugees, the terrorists hiding among them and - something that is particularly worrying in the current situation regarding security policy - the already existing parallel societies.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Move may be good news for Weber

Orbán's announcement is not necessarily bad news for Weber, observes Večernji list:

“Weber would not be the first EU commission president to be voted in without Fidesz support, after all in 2014 Orbán did not vote for Juncker either. ... It is also a relief for Weber, who has come under pressure because of his relationship with Orbán, which is why he is now hoping that his standing will improve. On the other hand there is the huge question of whether he can really be successful without the Fidesz votes. Because his candidacy has not fallen on the fertile ground he was hoping for.”