Kickl, Orbán and Babiš form new alliance in EU Parliament

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Fidesz), FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl from Austria and former Czech head of government Andrej Babiš (ANO) met in Vienna on Sunday to adopt a "patriotic manifesto" for the future of Europe. They said they aim to lay the foundations for a new right-wing group in the European Parliament. At least 23 MEPs from no fewer than seven member states are required to form a political group.

Open/close all quotes
Der Standard (AT) /

Trump is their role model

Der Standard takes stock of the situation:

“In order to prevail, Kickl, Orbán and Babiš are aiming to create the largest parliamentary group in Strasbourg. Whether they can succeed remains to be seen. Fidesz is currently non-aligned, as is ANO. The FPÖ is with Le Pen in the far-right ID group. However, Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni wants nothing to do with them (or with the AfD). She and the Fratelli party are fierce critics of Putin. What Le Pen will do in Strasbourg depends on the elections. There could end up being three instead of two right-wing groups in the EU Parliament. But one thing is clear: Orbán, Kickl and friends have rarely been this open about their goal. They are striving for an illiberal Europe – and Donald Trump is their main role model.”

Reflex (CZ) /

Patriotic and right wing – really?

Reflex takes a closer look at the three parties and casts doubts on their joint statement:

“It's hard to imagine what patriotism might look like to Andrej Babiš. Perhaps he can sing the Czech national anthem for us and we can see if he even knows the words. Even the statement that this is a 'right-wing group' is crazy. What is right wing here? Several of the economic policy proposals of all three parties are more to the left of the spectrum. And the ANO party has absolutely nothing to do with the right. It is populist through and through and makes decisions purely on the basis of what it picks up in the public space or on social media.”

Népszava (HU) /

Revenge and division

Viktor Orbán is at risk of losing the trust of his potential partners, says Népszava:

“It's not only the European 'mainstream' that doesn't trust the Hungarian head of government, but also those he called his allies. By attempting to create his own parliamentary group he will weaken the larger populist party families, the sovereigntists. In the campaign for the European elections he set himself the goal of creating a large right-wing bloc, but now he is further fragmenting the far-right parties - perhaps in retaliation for [his party] Fidesz not being accepted into Giorgia Meloni's ECR group.”

Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

Time for their voices to be heard

The new alliance will act as the strong voice of the sovereigntists, says Magyar Nemzet, which has close ties to Hungary's ruling Fidesz party:

“It's high time for straight talk: it cannot be that the sovereigntists win elections or are the strongest parties in the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and many other countries, yet are not allowed to express their opinions freely in the European Parliament. The new political group that was founded yesterday - and which may soon be joined by supporters from other countries - is truly on the side of truth in this respect.”