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Within the EPP or Outside, Fidesz’s Prospects in the European Parliament

Dénes Sályi 2019.03.11.

Interesting new developments are predicted in the European Parliament, which is expected to undergo major shifts. The Europen People’s Party – represented by a rather colorful fraction comprised of markedly right-wing, centrist and liberal politicians – is the most important party (group) in the legislative body. It seems the hot debates surrounding Viktor Orbán extend beyond policy or the possession of a remarkable political personality. The EPP’s future is what is at stake: Will it cling to its traditional rightist identity or continue to move towards the mainstream center?

Analysts have put forth several scenarios concerning upcoming events. If Fidesz is excluded from the EP, the party group is likely to move further in the direction of the Left. A coalition of the People’s Party and the Socialists could be formed in the new Parliament resulting in an intensifying leftist influence. If this happens, the radical right-wing, anti-migration and Eurosceptic parties will gain strength, endangering the EPP from the right. As a result, moderate, conservative parties in Western Europe could be exposed to cross-fire. Dynamic green and new left parties coupled with young liberal formations could lure voters from the People’s Party, which may find itself in an ideological wasteland. On the other hand, electors for whom moderate conservative parties have become lukewarm and evasive will choose fresh, confident new right parties. Neither option faced by the EPP looks favorable. Either Fidesz leaves, perhaps accompanied by some other small rightist parties, or Fidesz stays, and the Scandinavian and Benelux parties quit and join Macron’s liberal group. Losing ground seems inevitable either way.

Orbán: ‘EPP Dispute might Reveal that Our Place is not within the EPP but Outside’

Similarly, Fidesz is also looking at two possible scenarios. Staying in the EPP means that it belongs to the strongest party group in the European Parliament and maintains firm connections to the governing parties of Germany, the mightiest country in the Union. Staying also brings with its position, money and political influence. In a new radical European party group, however, Fidesz could act with dominance, easily and freely representing its political philosophy. According to calculations, if a group comprised of Kaczynsky, Le Pen, Salvini, Fidesz and the Freedom Party from Austria were established, this fraction could become the third biggest in the Parliament. They would come to be known as the ’anti-federalist’ stronghold within the European Union, supporting De Gaulle’s famous ‘nations of Europe’ conception.

Is Fidesz on the Verge of Leaving the EPP?

In the midst of all this struggle, one can identify two issues of historical importance. The first is the face of European civilization in the future, particularly whether a relatively traditional framework will survive or whether a more modern vision will emerge. The second asks how far ‘the ever closer union’ will go. Will it become the United States of Europe or can a fertile compromise be worked out, fulfilling the requirements of both efficiency and diversity?

As far as domestic policy is concerned, there are no signs that either of the versions of events outlined above would weaken Fidesz at home. It seems the voters won’t be influenced regardless of the outcome. Beyond all this struggle, two issues of historical importance can be identified. One is the face of European civilization in the future, particularly whether a relatively traditional framework will survive or whether a more modern vision will emerge. The second asks how far ’the ever closer union’ will go. Will it become the United States of Europe or can a fertile compromise be worked out fulfilling the requirements of both efficiency and diversity?

On the featured photo: PM Viktor Orbán at the EPP’s Congress last November. Photo by Balázs Szecsődi/PM’s Press Office


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