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Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Screenshot from YouTube

‘Centrists’ want to oust Hungarian party from EPP group

German politicians from the CDU and CSU have sharply criticized Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban's campaign against the EU's migration policy. In Sweden, similar critiscisms have been voiced.

Published: February 24, 2019, 9:38 am

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    The CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer suggested that Fidesz, Orban’s party, be excluded from the joint EPP group in the European Parliament and warned against a new split in Europe.

    “If there is no longer a common understanding of the objectives of the EPP, the format would make no sense and should therefore stop. It is up to the Hungarian side to prove that it still feels that it belongs to the EPP,” she told Spiegel .

    The head of the CDU/CSU group in the European Parliament, Daniel Caspary (CDU), called the policies of Orban unbearable. “We also need to make it clear within the EPP Group that European values such as the rule of law and fundamental rights apply to all.”

    Orban had presented a campaign on Monday blaming EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and US billionaire George Soros for mass immigration to Europe. These statements are “unacceptable,” Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) told the FAZ .

    The EPP Group currently has 208 seats. Eleven of these are attributable to Fidesz. According to election forecasts, the party could win seats in the May elections.

    MEPs from the Swedish party Moderaterna (the Moderates) also want Hungarian members of Fidesz to be ejected from the European People’s Party. According to Moderate candidate Tomas Tobé it is time for Fidesz to leave, Metro reported.

    “With regard to Hungary, it is clear that the government’s dismantling of the rule of law is contrary to the fundamental values of the EU,” Tobé alleged.

    French MEP Nicolas Bay meanwhile talked about the status quo changes he expect in the European Parliament after the elections to Hungarian news site Azonnali.

    According to Bay, who is secretary general of the French National Rally, and co-chair of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), their eurosceptic, anti-immigration group is expected to get stronger after May.

    Bay stressed that they understand the planning of Prime Minister Orban, and added that the ENF was the only group which unanimously rejected the Sargentini Report, based on which an Article 7 procedure has been launched against Hungary.

    The Article 7 process was triggered following a report accusing the Orban administration of corruption, abuse of migrants, and influencing the media and academia — allegations which the Hungarians deny.

    He stressed that they would be glad to co-operate with Viktor Orban, because they fully agree with his political vision, but they also understand that for strategic and political reasons now it makes more sense for him to stay in the European People’s Party. Bay added that there’s no other party in Hungary they would co-operate with.

    Bay also spoke about a possible co-operation with the ECR group, and the democratic deficit of the EU.

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