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Fidesz Wants to Stay in EPP but Likely to Face Long ‘Probation’

Péter Cseresnyés 2019.06.05.

In a recent interview, Prime Minister Office chief Gergely Gulyás, said he believed Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party was better off remaining a member of the European People’s Party. Meanwhile, EPP revealed it would only decide on Fidesz’s fate in November after the report of the ‘Wise Men’ Committee evaluated the party’s policies.

Prime Minister Office chief Gergely Gulyás, in an interview to German conservative daily Die Welt, said he believed Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party was better off remaining a member of the European People’s Party. “The EPP, too, would be better off keeping us,” he told the paper.

The Minister was also asked about the Hungarian government’s decision to postpone the introduction of public administration courts indefinitely. Gulyás said Hungary wanted to avoid another showdown with the European Commission over the country’s justice system, pointing out that another dispute could have “negative consequences.” Gulyás denied that this was the motive for Fidesz to keep its EPP membership, adding, at the same time, that the decision “might make it easier for the EPP to keep us in.”

New Admin Courts: People’s or Govt’s Interest?

Concerning EPP Spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber, Gulyás made a firm statement saying that the CSU politician “didn’t want our support and we will grant him this wish.” He said the EPP had a slew of experienced politicians who would be willing to head the European Commission.

Gulyás also pointed out that there were issues on which Fidesz can cooperate with the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Liberals, noting that the Hungarian governing party had voted with other EP groups in the past. “But we don’t want permanent cooperation with them and we think there are a number of important groups to the right of the EPP that aren’t at all extremist,” he said.

The future of Fidesz is still rather unclear as Pedro López de Pablo, spokesman of the EPP party group said to leftist daily Népszava, that Fidesz MEPs are not allowed to take leading positions in the group of the European People’s Party.

The spokesman also said the group would apply the same rules as the European party, so Fidesz would not be able to fill any position in the People’s Party parliamentary group until its membership was suspended.

‘Three Wise Men’ to Monitor Whether Fidesz Meets EPP’s Conditions

Pedro López de Pablo affirmed that the EPP will decide in November what happens to Fidesz in the Christian-Democratic Party based on the report by the “Wise Men” Committee, and will then decide on the future of the party. According to a former decision by EPP, this council has been appointed to monitor the situation in Hungary and it will evaluate the ruling Fidesz party’s policies.

The European People’s Party faction is holding its inaugural meeting on Wednesday in Brussels,  where the new chair is elected. Manfred Weber is expected to be re-elected as chairman of the group. Meanwhile, Fidesz’s fate will only be decided after November with the “help of the three wise men.”

Featured photo by Balázs Szecsődi/PM’s Press Office