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Hungary warns that EU may face break-up as EPP battle looms

As Hungary's battle for continued membership of the European People’s Party looms, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned that the European Union could face break up if Brussels continues to impose its pro-immigration stance. 

Published: March 8, 2019, 7:11 am

    Orban’s party Fidesz is currently facing an uphill battle to remain as member of European People’s Party, after both EPP President Joseph Daul and Spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber criticised the Hungarian administration on Tuesday.

    According to Daul, Orban has crossed “red line” when his government targeted Jean-Claude Juncker. Speaking to German daily Die Welt, the French politician deemed the billboard campaign “impermissible”. Juncker’s party is also a member of the EPP.

    But if Fidesz walks out, it could cost the EPP more than a dozen seats in the next Parliament, complicating the party’s effort to install Weber as the next Commission president.

    Moreover, if Fidesz is evicted, it could prompt Orban to seek an alliance with conservative parties in Europe, handing them enough votes for a blocking minority in Parliament.

    Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, told a press conference on Thursday that Hungary’s ruling Fidesz wants to stay on as a member of the European People’s Party (EPP).

    He said “attacks” against Fidesz from within the EPP had come “exclusively from parties that had supported mandatory migrant quotas” but added that “those parties are also important EPP members” and that “the EPP embraces many different opinions”. He voiced hope that the EPP will run “unified and strong” in the upcoming election with “Fidesz emerging as its strongest member”.

    But EPP group leader Manfred Weber has set a number of conditions for Fidesz to remain a member of EPP. The EPP will start talks on the party’s expulsion, after 12 member parties from nine countries requested action.

    Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, CDU leader. Wikipedia

    Fidesz has had talks with German CDU head Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Weber, but not with Marine Le Pen’s RN party. He also indicated that even if Fidesz were not an EPP member, “it would not be possible” to cooperate with the AfD party.

    This week, Orban issued an ultimatum to the EC.  “If we are left alone and they do not force islamisation on us, Europe can continue to live as the club of free nations.”

    If Brussels forces Hungary “to accept the UN migration pact or the European Commission’s decisions so as to make us fit their own Western concessive policies, a breakup [of the EU] cannot be ruled out,” he said, as quoted on the Hungarian government’s website.

    A document released on Sunday by the Hungarian government, meanwhile offered a detailed response to the commission’s stated policy on migration.

    It is an eight-page rebuttal against the current EU policy to increase migration to Europe. Csaba Domotor, Hungary’s State Secretary of the Cabinet Office, said in a statement that a number of public statements and voting records showed the true intentions of the EU.

    “The plans reflect a clear intention: to legalise immigration rather than stop it,” he explained. “This intention is well served by the introduction of quotas, migrant bank cards and migrant visas,” he added.

    On the Hungarian government’s website kormany.hu a Brussels resolution is highlighted, stating that “the possibilities for legal migration must be ensured”. This “is extremely telling” according to Hungarian officials.

    “This is not a secret plot but an open intensification of cooperation on immigration.”

    Although the commission has insisted that financier George Soros had nothing to do with the EU’s migration policies, “the billionaire’s published statements coincide with plans being made in Brussels” officials said.

    Neither the relocation of migrations based on compulsory quotas nor the rights of EU member states to protect their borders have been revoked. The commission has supported the introduction of a migrant visa while, “astoundlingly”, denying such a plan.

    At the same time, no denial was given concerning funding available to organisations that aid migration, the document stated. Already, “tens of thousands of migrants” receive topped-up bank cards, according to the government.

    The commission has even acknowledged funding the scheme for migrant bank cards, it said, adding that 64 000 people had already money through in this way.

    In its rebuttal, the government also noted that the commission backed pilot projects that would legalise migration. Accordingly, EU member states would propose pilot schemes with African countries to “replace irregular migration flows with secure, orderly and well-managed legal migration opportunities”.

    “The European Commission therefore does not seek to stop migration but the legalise it,” the government document pointed out.

    Brussels intends to punish EU member states that take an anti-migration stance in a number of ways, including withholding funding. The commission’s insistence that “there is no correlation between EU funding and support or rejection of migration” is untrue, the document adds.

    “We are committed Europeans and we won’t surrender,” the government said in the rebuttal. “We want a Europe that respects the rights of nation states, builds on its Christian values, protects its communities, and can maintain its long-term security. This is why we speak out whenever we see all this endangered,” it added.

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