A quasi zero-cost timely departure is sometimes better than reaching a zero-sum situation. The European People’s Party (EPP) has now been presented with a great opportunity to be released from the pain of Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party.
On a political level, no elections are scheduled and therefore the political cost is expected to be meagre.
An expert group headed by former EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy is currently examining whether Fidesz has to leave the EPP for good. Rompuy’s recommendation is expected in the next few weeks.
However, for the time being, there is every indication that Fidesz has not done its homework as, according to party sources, the Hungarian party has shown little understanding of what the ‘three wise men’ expect from them. On the contrary, the situation has worsened now that Orban has targeted the Hungarian culture.
EPP group chief, Manfred Weber, is now against Orban’s return to the EPP family. “So far, Fidesz and its chairman Viktor Orbán have not used the time to address the criticisms that led us to suspend membership at the time,” Weber told Germany’s Der Spiegel.
Weber added that “in particular, the current legislation and the future of the Central European University in Budapest are not encouraging. Viktor Orbán has to deliver.”
Before the EU elections, Weber wanted to “build bridges” with people like Orbán. However, his new stance should be welcomed, as now he does not need Orbán’s votes.
However, there’s another obstacle for Fidesz staying in; it’s less favourable EPP leadership, with the new EPP boss Donald Tusk being more likely to oppose Orbán.
If Orbán left now, it’d create a win-win situation for all sides.
Orbán will be free to invent new enemies and keep discrediting refugees while simultaneously urging EU citizens to return to their Christian roots.
The EPP, on the other hand, will be free to support progressive policy initiatives and help the ongoing effort to build-up a broad pro-European majority in the EU House.
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Views are the author’s
[Edited by Natasha Foote]