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13 EPP Member Parties Call to Expel Fidesz Due to Violation of EU Values with Epidemic Bill

Fanni Kaszás 2020.04.03.

Thirteen members of the European People’s Party are calling for Fidesz to be expelled from the party family, in a joint letter addressed to EPP President Donald Tusk.

Earlier this week, the leader of the Danish Conservative Party and the head of the European Parliament delegation to the Christian Democratic Party family, initiated an immediate expulsion of Fidesz, which is currently a suspended member of the party family.

On Tuesday, President Soren Pape Poulsen and MEP Pernille Weiss informed EPP President Donald Tusk and Group leader Manfred Weber in an official letter of their initiative. The Danish Conservative MEP said he was aware that several other parties were considering similar steps after the Hungarian Parliament passed the authorization law (i.e. the coronavirus epidemic bill).

After the Danish party’s initiative, Donald Tusk also brought up the possibility of Fidesz being excluded. Tusk said the decision to suspend Fidesz should be reviewed. In a statement addressed to members of the EPP, the politician said: “Many of you have criticized Orbán for his earlier decisions, but disagreed with excluding him from our political family. Today, of course, we have more important things to do, the priority is to overcome the pandemic. But the time will soon come to reconsider your position.”

Then on Thursday, prominent national leaders in the European People’s Party (EPP), including Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg, called Thursday for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party to be expelled from the Continent’s center-right political grouping. A total of 13 member parties asked for the expulsion of Fidesz from the party group.

The leaders of these EPP parties made their case in a letter, after the Hungarian Parliament this week approved a measure to let Orbán’s government rule by decree without any specified end date, due to the coronavirus crisis. The letter was shared on Twitter by, among others, Anna Donáth MEP of Momentum.

According to the letter, the so-called coronavirus law of Hungary is “a clear violation of the foundations of liberal democracy and European values,” as it announces a state of emergency for “an indefinite time” and gives Prime Minister Viktor Orbán the opportunity to govern by decrees, without the Parliament.

Detailed Analysis of the “Coronavirus Law” by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation

EPP politicians also fear that Orbán, “with his newly acquired power, will put even greater pressure on civil society.” They added that they “have been watching the rule of law in Hungary for some time. Fidesz’s membership of the European People’s Party has been suspended for failing to respect the rule of law.

However, recent developments have convinced us that with this policy, Fidesz cannot remain a member of the People’s Party.

The letter was signed by two Belgian and two Swedish EPP parties, as well as Czech, Finnish, Greek, Lithuanian, Luxembourg, Dutch, Norwegian, and Slovak members of the party family, and the Danish Conservative People’s Party, which had already initiated the exclusion of Fidesz on Monday.

State Secretary Katalin Novák commented on the moves of the Danish party to atv.hu. She said the initiative of the immediate exclusion of Fidesz “is harmful and unfounded.” She added she was surprised that “though Denmark has nearly 3,000 coronavirus cases and almost 100 people dead from the disease, they are scared for Hungarians from Fidesz.” Novák said it is regrettable that now that most countries around the world are suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, some are still working on creating tension rather than co-operation.

featured photo: via Donald Tusk’s Facebook page