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Nov 13, 2018

Government spokesman: Fidesz is EPP’s strongest member and is not concerned about calls for expulsion

Zoltán Kovács said there had been no talk about Fidesz’s potential expulsion from the political family at the EPP’s congress in Helsinki last week

Hungary’s government spokesman has said the ruling Fidesz party is arguably the EPP’s strongest member and is not concerned by calls for its expulsion from the group.

Speaking to the Austrian media, Zoltán Kovács said there had been no talk about Fidesz’s potential expulsion from the political family at the EPP’s congress in Helsinki last week. “The exact opposite was the case,” he said.

Kovács said that during the congress, Fidesz argued for “common sense” solutions and expressed its readiness to share its experiences. He said the EPP’s liberal wing which has been critical of Fidesz and is “partly urging the ruling party’s expulsion” would fail because of its “unrealistic views”.

The spokesman also confirmed that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán backed Germany’s Manfred Weber as the EPP’s nominee for European Commission president.

Touching on the subject of the potential outcome of the Article 7 procedure launched against Hungary, Kovács said it was a “political, not a legal procedure”. He added that the whole thing is a question of “political taste and therefore a witch hunt.”

When asked about the calls to reduce European Union funding for Hungary, Kovács was quick to point out that the idea was simply “nonsense”. He said the funds Hungary receives from the EU were not “handouts” but money meant to ensure the cohesion of the European markets, which he said benefitted all member states. “Every euro that western Europe gives to central Europe in the form of cohesion funds is worthwhile,” he said.