The People’s Party no longer sees Fidesz, the Hungarian party of Viktor Orban, with the same eyes, with the threat of expulsion from the European People’s Party (EPP) looming.
According to sources from Genoa consulted by Vozpópuli, the formation of Pablo Casado assumes the departure of
this controversial partner of the ‘popular’ family is inevitable when there is a vote in early 2021.
In the end, the expulsion of Orban’s party does not bother the national headquarters of the PP.
Fidesz has strengthened ties with Vox in recent months and Casado now has another opportunity to distance himself from Santiago Abascal’s formation.
The vice president of the Popular Group in the European Parliament, the Spanish Esteban González Pons, framed Fidesz last Thursday within the “extreme right” and anticipated that the Orban formation will leave the PPE ” if it does not make a 180-degree turn ” from here to February, which is when it is expected that it will be the political assembly of the European ‘popular’ in which the permanence or expulsion of the Hungarian party will be decided.
Fidesz has been suspended as a member of the EPP for almost two years, specifically since March 2019, but the coronavirus pandemic has kept the aforementioned assembly undated in which his final expulsion will be discussed. In that conclave, presence is required, since the vote is secret, and current sanitary restrictions prevent this type of mass events.
n recent years, Casado has been careful not to antagonize Orban. In September 2018, when Vox had not yet entered the institutions and he had just succeeded Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish PP MEPs abstained in the plenary session of the European Parliament in which it was decided to activate the sanctioning process against the Hungarian Government for threatening the rule of law.
On that occasion, the EPP gave its MEPs freedom to vote at the request of its leader in the European Parliament, the German Manfred Weber, who voted in favor of the activation of Article 7 of the EU Treaty against the Central European country for cases of corruption, obstacles to the independence of the judiciary, restrictions on refugees’ right to asylum or the jeopardizing of freedom of expression and information.
The text needed to add two-thirds of the votes cast and a minimum of 376 supports – an absolute majority – to get ahead and far exceeded the bar. There were 448 votes in favor, 197 against, and 48 abstentions, but among the overwhelming ‘yeses’ there were not the representatives of the PP of Casado.
The vote on suspension
In March 2019, the EPP political assembly was held in which the suspension of Fidesz as a member of the conservative European political family was decided after the attacks in Budapest on the then president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
That vote was promoted by twelve members of the EPP from nine different countries, among which was not Casado’s PP. But at the time of the vote, the Spanish representatives joined the majority. The decision to suspend Fidesz was made by 190 votes in favor and three against.
Orban’s party “increasingly supports its weight on its foot on the extreme right,” according to González Pons
The Spanish MEPs of the PP would have voted the same this week if the EPP Group in the European Parliament had voted on the expulsion of the head of the Fidesz delegation, Tamas Deutsch, who dispatched against Weber with harsh accusations which he equated with the Nazi Gestapo.
Orban’s party had warned that Deutsch’s departure would mean that all Fidesz MEPs would leave the EPP seats. A scenario that would have cleared the way for the expulsion of this Hungarian party in the assembly of the ‘popular’ Europeans in February. But, in the end, the blood did not reach the river.
Deutsch was saved at the last moment of the guillotine with a letter in which he apologized to Weber. In any case, the PPE group published a statement in which it criticized the head of the Hungarian delegation and asked the conservative political family to decide on Fidesz ” immediately when sanitary conditions permit.”
The sources consulted by Vozpópuli emphasize that for a long time there has been “a lot of exhaustion ” with Orban’s party and that the Casado PP prefers to let go with a formation that is “on the border between the extreme right and Christian democracy”, in words by González Pons, and with the same Eurosceptic tics as Vox.
“Let’s say he has one foot on the extreme right and another foot in Christian democracy. It is true that he increasingly supports his weight on the foot he has on the extreme right, ” added the ‘popular’ MEP, who defended that Fidesz should It has “the great advantage” that the EPP would get rid of an uncomfortable partner who, for example, hinders the distribution of European funds due to the pandemic.
Of course, there is a ” disadvantage ” and that is that Fidesz would go to the group of European Conservatives and Reformists (CRE) in which Vox and the Polish Conservatives of Law and Justice are already present. For this reason, González Pons warned of the consequences of placing two governments – that of Poland and Hungary – “in the group of the extreme right” and in this way ” strengthening ” the political family of Vox when the ‘popular’ do not they are “interested” in doing so.
The February vote in the PPE political assembly will be secret, so the question of the final meaning of the vote would remain until the end. But as far as the Spanish ‘popular’ are concerned, they will not shed tears if Orban’s party is finally expelled.