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Mar 18, 2019

Gergely Gulyás: Fidesz wants a strong, united, Christian democratic European People’s Party which rejects immigration

On Monday Gergely Gulyás, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, told Hungarian news agency MTI that Fidesz wants a strong, united Christian democratic European People’s Party (EPP) which rejects immigration. He said that Fidesz wants to remain a member of the party family for as long as possible, and also stressed that Fidesz has always avoided personal attacks on other members of the party family it belongs to.

The Minister said that on Wednesday Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will lead the Fidesz delegation at the EPP Political Assembly, when the latter will be able to vote on the issue of Fidesz’s membership. He said that “We want to have a clear and straightforward relationship. We would like to see a strong, united People’s Party inspired by Christian democracy, which rejects illegal immigration; and we would like to remain part of the People’s Party for as long as that is a realistic prospect and hope.”

He stressed, however, that his party will under no circumstances be able to compromise on fundamental issues such as the defence of Christian culture or the rejection of immigration.

Mr. Gulyás was asked about articles appearing in the right-leaning press which were critical of EPP president Joseph Daul and Manfred Weber, the EPP lead candidate in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament. He said that naturally there are current political debates within the EPP, but up to now Fidesz has avoided personal criticism of the EPP president and its lead candidate, and it will continue to follow this principle. Therefore, he said, Fidesz is engaging in dialogue with Mr. Daul and Mr. Weber on the basis of mutual respect.

Mr. Gulyás highlighted the fact that in Hungary there is freedom of the press, and a significant proportion of right-leaning conservative journalists are critical of Fidesz’s membership of the EPP.

Referring to the fact that Manfred Weber would entrust oversight of Member States’ enforcement of the rule of law to an independent body, Mr. Gulyás said that Fidesz was a product of the struggle for freedom and the rule of law, and therefore “we place great importance on the fundamental values of a democratic state under the rule of law.” He described it as a problem that in the European Union this is not judged on the basis of an objective benchmark, but as part of political recriminations: “This means that in those countries in which anti-immigration political forces are in power, the rule of law is judged to be defective; while in countries where pro-immigration parties are in government, it is it is said that the rule of law is in the best possible condition.”

He observed that the Hungarian government has often spoken out against the application of this double standard, adding that in Hungary there is no problem with the basic institutions related to the rule of law. In this respect there are no further well-founded criticisms to be made, he stated, because on institutional issues Hungary has already reached agreement with the European Commission on every disputed question.