Hungarian FM Peter Szijjarto says the European People’s Party (EPP) did not suspend Fidesz from the European Parliament. They’ve suspended themselves, rather, until experts decide if the populist party is a good fit for the bloc.
In a conversation with RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze, Szijjarto discussed this week’s bomb-shell revelation that the Hungarian party, headed by euroskeptic conservative Viktor Orban, would be suspended from the center-right EPP pending an investigation. Whereas many had framed the events as Fidesz being forced out, the minister was clear in describing the decision as “consensual.”
Orban’s party suspended from European parliament bloc over ongoing feud with Brussels
Szijjarto admitted that the party’s “very strong anti-migration position … is not shared by many,” which has led to serious conflict among the broad-base of the EPP members. He added that the transnational organization, which, incidentally, is the largest party in the European Parliament, had changed as a result of forming a coalition. According to Szijjarto, the coalition’s position “has moved towards the left” as it was reshaped by its new coalition partners.
These changes have helped to foment tension between Fidesz and the rest of the organization, tensions that flared up even more dramatically in light of the party’s ongoing conflict with the EU leadership. Budapest and Brussels have been at daggers drawn for some time, particularly over immigration issues, but also in relation to the Hungarian government’s alleged “attacks” on billionaire regime-change financier George Soros.
Szijjarto does not agree with characterizing Budapest’s disagreements with Soros as “attacks,” preferring to see their measures at curbing the financier’s influence in the country as part of a debate.
Orban himself stood his ground following the decision, telling the press that Hungary’s viewpoint would be validated following the expected success of anti-immigration parties in the upcoming European Parliament elections.