Weber vs. Orban….to be continued.
Plus, if British conservatives are forced to stay, this would be a game-changer. They are not exactly fans of Manfred Weber or Guy Verhofstadt.
As one or our readers keenly pointed out…it was Manfred Weber who came to Hungary to plead, not vice-versa.
– The information is not exactly flowing from this meeting and Weber’s vague demands seem to be changing (which has been the CSU’s style), which make things even more complex.
For instance, originally he wanted Orban to apologize (which is nonsense) for the anti-EU, anti-Juncker billboards. However, this apology was not coming from Orban. Instead, government spokesman Gergely Gulyas told journalists that Orban didn’t want to insult anyone with the term “useful idiots” but was ready to apologize if some were offended by this term. This is a far cry from apologizing to EPP members regarding Orban’s very valid campaign against Juncker and the Commission.
– Weber had demanded an immediate and permanent end to Orban’s anti-EU, anti-Juncker campaigning, but this was a week ago. Most of the billboards were still up and the ads were still running.
Gulyas, in our opinion, confused matters somewhat by telling reporters that the poster campaign was officially over, although it does not officially end until Friday when they will be replaced with others touting Orban’s plan to lift the birth rate.
Still, it was not Orban who blinked here.
– Weber’s third demand called for renewed Hungarian government support for the Central European University, founded by liberal financier George Soros.
In exchange for a permit for CEU to issue American diplomas, the key bone of contention around the school, Weber proposed an expansion of the school with technical research, using support from the Technical University of Munich, the auto giant BMW and several U.S. colleges.
However, Gulyas reiterated that this issue was already solved and CEU’s future in Hungary was ensured.
Also, keep these things in mind when viewing the context of this meeting:
1. Manfred Weber is an opportunist and he needs to keep his EPP party together in order to increase his chances of replacing fellow EPP member Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels. Controversies right before the election will have a negative effect. If Brexit does not happen, this will have an impact too.
The EPP, although it expects heavy losses, is currently the biggest bloc in the European Parliament, which means it can name the president of the executive European Commission.
As a result, Weber is anxious to keep Orban’s Fidesz on board – as well his supporters across Europe.
2. This is critical because the CSU-CDU coalition in Germany, which Weber belongs to, will be the key vote regarding Fidesz. The key bloc of the Grand Coalition in Berlin, led by Angela Merkel’s CDU, will be keen to increase its power even more in Brussels by having one of their own at the top post.
Weber and the CSU/CDU may have too much at risk to act ‘before’ the elections.
3. One must also bear in mind that it is not Viktor Orban who has changed, but the EPP (and CSU), which has moved to the left over the past several years. Orban has not changed his positions since the beginning of the migrant crisis. Maybe, the EPP owes Orban an explanation, considering 60% of its members voted yes to launching Article 7 procedures.
* The V4 Report does not believe anything substantial changed as a result of this meeting. Weber may be looking for a way out of his ultimatums, but Orban has options.
We will see how the other parties involved vote. Either way, whether before or after the elections, we do not believe this marriage will last much longer. In fact, once and if he is elected, we believe Weber will take action against Hungary. Weber is a career Eurocrat and a product of the establishment.
The EPP has changed, Orban has not. We believe the EPP is headed in the wrong direction and that a better future lies elsewhere.
Salvini, Orban, the PiS and FPO…the cornerstones of the new united right.