It is now clear that Donald Tusk was the one to renege on the agreement between the European People’s Party’s (EPP) previous leadership and Fidesz, said the governing party’s MEP Tamás Deutsch in reaction to a recently published interview with Wolfgang Schüssel, member of the Evaluation Committee, a.k.a “the three wise men,” put together to negotiate with Fidesz on the debated issues.
In the aforementioned interview to Presse am Sonntag, the former Austrian Chancellor said that the EPP’s wise men committee would no longer continue its work, after Donald Tusk, who took over the EPP leadership in December, “cancelled everything.” Besides echoing his disappointment, Schüssel also claimed that after their appointment they engaged in an “intensive, emotional, and controversial dialogue,” that brought something ahead. Then Tusk came, and suddenly everything had been broken off.”
The Evaluation Committee, a.k.a. the three wise men committee, was created after Fidesz’s suspension from the EPP back in March to monitor and assess whether the Hungarian governing party meets the democratic values laid down in the official documents of the People’s Party, namely whether they have respect for the rule of law, EPP values, as well as the implementation of the EPP emergency resolution on “Protecting EU Values and Safeguarding Democracy.” The committee is chaired by former Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy and its members include former German EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering, and Schüssel.
According to Deutsch who also heads Fidesz’ delegation in the EPP Group, they agreed to make recommendations together with the wise men, but Tusk “tried to force his own position on them.” Although the Committee said that things were moving in the right direction, the EPP’s President “scattered them to the wind,” Deutsch insisted.
“It is quite obvious that Donald Tusk is “part of the problem, and not the solution,” Deutsch claimed, adding that it is the first time in the history of the EPP that a president is a burden instead of providing support. Deutsch also said that Tusk “obviously lied when he attacked the Hungarian epidemic law, then went so far as to call the Hungarian prime minister a nazi, and hasn’t simmered down his tone ever since.” “He suffers from Orbán-phobia and in his political jihad against Kaczyński, he attacks the Hungarian PM with all his might. Unfortunately, he also subordinates the EPP’s operation to his Polish domestic political battle.”
Leader of ‘Three Wise Men’: Orbán’s Answers ‘Problematic’
The Fidesz founder MEP also claimed that even the EPP’s parliamentary faction leader Manfred Weber considered the law to be compatible with EU law. He also said that Fidesz’ similar body (consisting of Katalin Novák, Judit Varga, and József Szájer) is still open to constructive dialogue.
featured image: Tusk and Orbán in May 2019; via Balázs Szecsődi/MTI/PM’s Press Office