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Mar 01, 2021

PM Orbán slams EPP for seeing review of internal regulations as “a matter of urgency” during pandemic

PM Orbán said Fidesz will leave the EPP if the party group votes in favor of the changes accepted by the leadership on Friday.

 

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has sent a letter to Manfred Weber slamming the European People’s Party for seeing the review of internal regulations as “a matter of urgency” during a pandemic.

According to MTI, PM Orbán said Fidesz will leave the EPP if the party group votes in favor of the changes accepted by the leadership on Friday. Fidesz’s membership in the EPP was suspended in March 2019, due to the Hungarian party’s critical stance and “alleged violation” of EPP values.

The EPP’s leadership and national delegation heads on Friday accepted a proposal which PM Orbán said would “facilitate the exclusion of our MEPs from the party family.” In the letter, PM Orbán said the EPP had been facing a “crisis of leadership and policy direction”.

Since 2019, the EPP kept promising “in-depth internal discussions about our visions of the party’s future”, Orbán said. He noted his December 6 letter to Weber where he proposed a new, looser type of cooperation. “These promises have not been kept, nor has my letter been answered,” he said. Instead, the EPP tabled a motion to rewrite internal regulations “at record speed and aiming to facilitate the exclusion,or as this would not get required majority either, creating the hastily defined and legally questionable exclusion of our MEPs from the EPP Group”. “The message is clear and duly noted,” PM Orbán said. “If Fidesz is not welcome, we do not feel compelled to stay in the Group,” he said.

PM Orbán noted that the coronavirus pandemic had claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Europeans and the third wave was hitting the bloc, taking a toll in human lives and causing unprecedented economic damage. Such times call for cooperation, joint action, tolerance and patience, he said. It is therefore hard to accept that Weber and the EPP group find the review of long-standing regulations their most pressing task, he said. Furthermore, retroactively changing regulations or imposing sanctions is contrary to the rule of law, PM Orbán said. He said the recent amendments were “tailor made to sanction Fidesz”.

“As you did not have the sufficient votes to punish us, you are now trying to change the rules and apply them to an ongoing procedure,” he said. As Fidesz’s leader, PM Orbán said he had the duty to ensure full representation of their voters. Therefore, he said he could not accept the curbing of MEPs rights necessary to fulfil their duties. Such a step would be “profoundly undemocratic,” he added.

Fidesz MEPs have been elected by over 1.8 million Hungarians, or 52 percent of the votes, he said. They are the strongest delegation in the EPP in that regard. “Setting them aside would means neglecting the democratic decision of almost two million Hungarian citizens and further weakening our political family,” he said. Should the EPP adopt the regulations accepted by the leadership and the heads of national delegations on Friday, Fidesz will leave the EPP, Orbán said.

Photo credit: MTI