A liberal columnist believes Orbán is cleverly weighing his chances in the European People’s Party and is prepared for every eventuality, while his opponents there cannot muster the majority needed to expel him. Meanwhile, a pro-government columnist suggests that the Hungarian PM was received in Berlin as a European leader worthy of respect and attention.
In a Népszava comment on the eve of Orbán’s meeting with Angela Merkel in Berlin, András Kósa describes Orbán’s attitude towards the EPP as a ‘triple game’. He still hasn’t given up the idea of achieving a ‘conservative revolution’ within his party family; on the other hand, he is trying to convince other member parties to leave with him if Fidesz is eventually expelled; while at the same time, he is already working on shaping a new party alliance which he could immediately join in case he is evicted from the EPP. Kósa finds it ‘funny’ that Orbán is doing this all quite so openly. Upon his return from a conference of Patriotic Conservatives in Rome and a meeting with League leader Matteo Salvini, the Prime Minister told the press he talks to the rivals of the People’s Party because he prefers to have the largest elbow room possible. Kósa thinks that after the People’s Party prolonged Fidesz’s suspension (but also its membership) indefinitely, and since EU procedures against his government are slow and eventually ineffective, Orbán is ‘winning time’, and ‘time works for him’.
In its report on the summit, Magyar Nemzet quotes Merkel in its headline praising Hungary’s economic policies. In an opinion column on the meeting, Levente Sitkei deplores the modern habit, ‘inherited from World War Two’ of interpreting the world in two opposing blocks, each considering the other as an expression of Evil. Thus two allies, President Trump and Merkel, have been paradoxically framed by the liberal-leaning mainstream media as enemies, with the German Chancellor depicted as ‘the leader of the free world’, Sitkei suggests. He recalls that in a similar vein, the mainstream media consistently expected Merkel to publicly scorn Orbán as a representative of the opposite side. That never happened, nor has it happened this time, he claims, when the main controversy over allowing illegal immigrants and distributing them among European countries on a mandatory basis is a matter of the past. All in all, despite expectations from the liberal side, Orbán was met in Berlin as an important European politician whose opinion is worth listening to, rather than as an unpleasant guest, Sitkei concludes.