”We have several options; Fidesz will decide whether they are within the EPP or outside,” Viktor Orban said.
However, the EPP has made several public demands for Fidesz to stay.
Manfred Weber: “I also acknowledge that Orbán wants to stay in the [European People’s Party]. He knows that in order to do so, he has to show that he accepts our common values and shows solidarity with us in the campaign,” reiterating that the EPP still expects an apology from the Hungarian PM. (Weber even sounds like Merkel/Juncker.)
“Some formulations and actions out of Budapest over the last few months have hurt the EPP. That’s why an apology to EPP partners is also in order,” said Weber, who is allies with both Angela Merkel and Donald Tusk.
The leftist Politico reported that Weber also mentioned that a “key factor” in the decision on Fidesz is the status of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, which Weber said needs to be “on sound legal footing.”
“Academic freedom is non-negotiable for the EPP,” he said, adding that he would put forward a proposal on how to “strengthen” the university’s activities.
Weber will put forward a proposal for Hungary? Is EPP membership worth the costs?
– Orban recently had talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EPP group leader Manfred Weber, and added that he would visit Poland on Sunday to attend a celebration of Poland’s NATO membership anniversary.
Orban said he was seeking to “change, reform” the EPP so that “it also embraces anti-migration forces” but said that “this dispute might reveal that our place is not within the EPP but outside”.
“If it turns out that we need to come up with a new initiative in Europe, the first place we will have talks is Poland,” Orban said, and noted that Poland’s Law and Justice party (PiS) is not a member of the EPP.
* The V4 Report would note that the EPP leaders view the PiS and League’s Matteo Salvini as the enemies with unacceptable visions of Europe. We find Weber’s attacks on the PiS and Salvini both troubling and revealing, considering that Weber seems more comfortable with Emmanuel Macron, Guy Verhofstadt and the leaders of Greens and Socialists.
We are well aware of how Weber, the CSU and the Grand Coalition operate in Germany.
We shall see how this all works out with Viktor Orban and the EPP, but predict it will be an ongoing issue that lasts beyond the elections in May.
My gut feeling is that Orban wants one more shot with the upcoming elections to try to reshape the EPP. Orban is a brilliant strategist, but in this case, we just think the EPP has moved too far left and is too embedded with the establishment in Brussels to make any meaningful reform possible.
As for Manfred Weber, he is a pure opportunist that will do whatever is best for Manfred Weber. If he thinks expelling Orban will increase his chances of obtaining the EU’s top job, Fidesz will be gone.
On the other hand, if he thinks he needs Fidesz to benefit his candidacy, in our opinion, he will wait to act until after the elections.
Either way, we think the marriage is all but over. It’s not a matter of if, but when.
Matteo Salvini, the PiS and others are waiting with open arms.