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Although Fidesz has only left the People’s Party group within the European Parliament, weeklies take it for granted that it will also leave the European Christian democratic alliance itself. They wonder what comes next.

Hungarian press roundup by budapost.eu

In Magyar Narancs, Dániel Hegedűs, a research fellow at the German Marshall Fund doesn’t expect immediate negative consequences for the Hungarian government after its leading party found itself in open opposition to its earlier Western partners, but he believes an unfavourable European political environment is building up around Fidesz. Hungary has been treated by the European Commission more leniently than Poland, he explains, because it enjoyed protection from the EPP, unlike Poland’s governing party of Law and Justice which belongs to another political alliance. The infringement procedures launched by the European Commission against the Hungarian government will harden after what has happened between Fidesz and the People’s Party, Hegedűs believes.

In 168, the new name of the weekly formerly called 168 óra, constitutional lawyer Richárd Szentpéteri Nagy predicts that Fidesz will not remain in the political no man’s land for long. He describes Fidesz’s political trajectory as a movement from left-liberalism to far-right nationalism and indicates its future place among far-right parties. He mentions as proof a letter to the leader of ‘its neofascist fraternal party’ in Italy in which, the Fidesz chairman ‘cheerfully celebrates’ their shared future in 2021.

In Heti Világgazdaság, Márton Gergely thinks Orbán will find it difficult to create a new populist alliance within the European Parliament because the potential members are often opposed to each other. His Italian partners, Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni are rivals in Italy and belong to different groups in the European Parliament. In addition, in a potential new alliance, Orbán would have only 12 MEPs, while Poland’s ruling party would have 24, and Salvini’s League would be the strongest component with 27. It would also be risky for the Hungarian Prime Minister to ally himself with Germany’s AfD party because that would alienate the ruling Christian Democrats even further, which might harm German-Hungarian relations.

In Demokrata, Orsolya Kurucz, a leading fellow at the pro-government Alapjogokért Center (Center for Fundamental Rights), on the other hand, suggests that Fidesz had to leave the EPP (she takes this as an already accomplished fact) because over the past decades the People’s Party slowly but surely departed from its founding principles. For instance, she explains, the EPP has by now eliminated references to Christianity as a basis for its policies from all its documents. It would be hard to find one single value dear to the founding fathers of European Christian democracy which today’s People’s Party would have fought to defend in the European political arena, she maintains.

In the featured photo illustration: Viktor Orbán and EPP group leader Manfred Weber in Budapest in 2019. Photo by Balázs Szecsődi/PM’s Press Office