Orbán threatens to leave the EPP

Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán has announced that MEPs from his Fidesz party will resign from the EPP group in the European Parliament if it approves an amendment to the rules of procedure proposed by the group's leadership on Friday. The change would allow the suspension of the Fidesz MEPs, which has been impossible so far. Who is putting whom under pressure - and who is in the right?

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Magyar Hírlap (HU) /

You can't dance at two weddings at the same time

Magyar Hírlap voices outrage at the behaviour of the European People's Party:

“The instrument of suspension that the EPP is resorting to is the umpteenth expression of the fact that the party has come under the sway of the aggressive liberals and has become incapable of making decisions. This is poisoning the EPP. What's more, this kind of behaviour is deceitful: the EPP is avoiding the confrontation and possible rupture that the expulsion would entail. ... Instead it is depriving the Fidesz MPs, who received their mandate democratically from two million Hungarians, of their rights. ... At the same time, however, it wants to keep them in the EPP so that it doesn't suffer any disadvantages from the loss of mandates. This is a disgrace.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Understandable blackmail

Orbán has once again taken the initiative, the Süddeutsche Zeitung comments:

“He is forcing the EPP to make a decision it might otherwise have postponed for even longer. This is a form of blackmail we have seen him use before, but in this case it's actually understandable. In theory any group could be excluded under the new rules, yet of course this is and remains a 'Lex Fidesz' for the time being. Now the EPP must finally show where it stands on this.”

Népszava (HU) /

A bitter blow for Fidesz

A quick separation would be a relief for the EPP but a momentous defeat for Fidesz, says Népszava:

“[Leaving the EPP would mean] Fidesz distancing itself even more from the German Union parties which are so important for it, and thus losing what is left of its influence. Fidesz could forge a new alliance with Eurosceptic parties, but among other things the current geopolitical situation in Europe is unfavourable for such a move. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest blows Fidesz has suffered since its inception.”

24 Chasa (BG) /

EPP no longer conservative enough

There are good reasons for Orbán's plan, 24 Chasa believes:

“The EPP is no longer what it used to be. It is no longer the party of the great unifier Helmut Kohl, or of Jacques Chirac, José Maria Aznar and Edmund Stoiber. It is no longer the EPP of [former Belgian prime minister Wilfried] Martens, seconded by Orbán, which boasted 270 MEPs and 16 prime ministers. Today, under the liberal Donald Tusk and the Brussels-Bavarian [Manfred] Weber, it has just 100 MEPs and 10 fewer prime ministers. ... What kind of EPP is this in which Portuguese Social Democrats allow same-sex marriage, Merkel boasts that Islam is an integral component of Germany and Sebastian Kurz joins forces with the Greens?”