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Mar 21, 2019

Fidesz voluntarily suspends EPP membership

PM Orbán called the decision a good one, saying that "we ourselves voted for it" and said the EPP had succeeded in maintaining its unity

Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party has voluntarily suspended its European People's Party (EPP) membership.

Government insiders reveal that the party’s suspension is a joint decision – one that Fidesz themselves voted for.

The EPP assembly approved with a large majority (190 yes against 3 no votes) the proposal that a "council of three wise men" led by Belgian politician Herman van Rompuy will review Fidesz, and for the duration the party will voluntarily freeze its membership rights.

PM Orbán called the decision a good one, saying that "we ourselves voted for it" and said the EPP had succeeded in maintaining its unity.

"Fidesz is one of the most successful parties of the EPP and there couldn't have been any vote for it leaving the group, or its expulsion, out of mutual respect," PM Orbán said at a press conference following the vote. "Finally there will be three men who are interested in the truth."

He added that given how Fidesz has decided to suspend its rights within the group, there is no decision as of now which group the party will join in the new European Parliament after the elections. He also said that there is no deadline for the decision of the three wise men, but that it will be after the elections as a decision before would only trigger further debates.

A relieved Manfred Weber - the EPP's top candidate from the Bavarian Christian-Social Union - said after the meeting that he will hand over the issue of the Fidesz debate to Herman van Rompuy.