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Will Orbán Succeed in Forming an Anti-Immigration Alliance?

Péter Cseresnyés 2019.05.24.

The European Parliament election is just around the corner in Hungary and most surveys show governing party Fidesz winning 50% of the votes and securing 13-15 of the 21 total mandates. Fidesz’s goal this election (as pointed out many times by its politicians) is to ensure that European anti-immigration political forces outnumber those in support of “mass migration.” The party also aspires to be the most successful party in Europe, and more importantly, in the European People’s Party (EPP).

While the latter seems feasible, forming a common alliance with other powerful “anti-immigration” European political parties might prove more difficult.

In a statement, PM Orbán explained plainly his desire to see an anti-immigration majority in the European Parliament (EP) and the European Commission (EC). Eventually, through the member states’ national elections, he hopes this to be the case in the European Council as well.

Budapest-Rome: the New Axis?

According to the latest surveys, the EPP is unlikely to take the majority even with the help of the Social Democrats (S&D). As a result, it may have to look for potential allies within the rows of Greens or even Macron (ALDE, En Marche) – neither of which is acceptable to Orbán.

Fact

The Dutch Labor Party of Frans Timmermans, the center-left candidate for EC president, was the unexpected winner of the European Parliament election held on May 23 in the Netherlands. This result could help to strengthen the Socialists; in addition, it’s not inconceivable for Timmermans to become the next president of the commission.

The EPP currently has the largest faction (217 seats) in the EP; however, most surveys predict it will be left with only 168 after the elections.

If the EPP connects with the European left – whose vision Orbán deems “not good for Europe” – then Fidesz will have a difficult time finding its place. As Orbán previously stated, the party’s search for a new alliance will depend heavily on which direction the EPP chooses to take.

Fidesz to Only Remain in EPP If Strict Conditions Are Met

Opening the EPP up to the right is no longer viable due to the scandal surrounding Heinz-Christian Strache. This is why the EPP is opposed to an alliance with the Polish PIS and Salvini’s League – two of the most prominent forces on Orbán’s list of potential allies – as well as the German AfD, a member of Salvini’s party group, now more than ever.

As a result, instead of Orbán’s anti-immigration political forces, EPP is more likely to be in favor of the liberal coalition of Alde and En Marche. As both will be in the EP in greater number, achieving an absolute majority might just be possible. So if Orbán plans on staying in the EPP, creating this alliance might prove to be difficult. But, ultimately, the voters will decide.

In the featured photo: PM Viktor Orbán, PM’s press chief Bertalan Havasi, PMO Head Gergely Gulyás. Photo by Balázs Szecsõdi/PM’s Press Office