Saturday

16th Nov 2019

EPP hits threshold to trigger Orban expulsion probe

  • Viktor Orban speaking from the podium on stage at the EPP's congress in Helsinki last November. He warned the group 'should respect winners' (Photo: European People's Party - Flickr)

A total of at least seven national centre-right parties had by Friday (1 March) called for the expulsion or suspension of their fellow member, Hungary's Fidesz - thereby passing the threshold for triggering an internal procedure to examine prime minister Viktor Orban's ruling party's place in Europe's largest political alliance.

Sweden's Christian Democrats and the Moderate party have sent letters to the president of the European People's Party (EPP), Frane's Joseph Daul, calling for the expulsion of Orban's Fidesz.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

"The EPP family cannot include members that do not fully respect the fundamental principles of a liberal democracy," Peter Kullgren, the secretary general of the Christian Democrats said in a letter addressed to Daul, dated 27 February, and seen by EUobserver.

On Friday, Petteri Orpo, the leader of Finland's National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), also sent a letter to Daul saying the EPP should expel Fidesz.

"Fidesz has gone too far. There are reasonable, serious grounds to conclude that Fidesz is in breach of EPP values and principles," Orpo said in a statement.

Orpo in his letter referred to an EPP resolution on protecting EU values adopted last November in Helsinki, which he said Fidesz breached.

"It [Fidesz] has crossed red lines and it has not kept the commitments that have been jointly agreed," Finland's finance minister wrote in the letter.

Earlier in the week three parties signed a letter to Daul asking for Fidesz's expulsion: the Flemish Christian Democrats (CD&V), the Walloon Humanist Democratic Centre (cdH) and Luxembourg's Christian Social People's Party (CSV).

Portugal's CDS-People's Party, also said it wrote to Daul to expel or suspend Fidesz.

The Dutch Christian Democrats (CDA) said on Thursday they supported an open discussion about Fidesz's place, as "informal discussions with Fidesz no longer have the desired effect", party chairman Rutger Ploum said in a statement.

Options on the table

According to internal rules, at least seven parties from five member states have to initiate the procedure to expel or suspend a member party.

This wave of letters was promoted by the latest campaign by Hungary's Fidesz-led government accusing the EU of pushing migration plans that threaten the security of Hungary.

While the EPP has been riven by the increasingly-authoritarian Orban and his Fidesz for several years, the last straw seems to have been that the latest campaign which attacks EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (a fellow EPP member) personally, and also spreads disinformation about EU policies.

Once all the letters Daul expects are received, the French leader of the EPP will reach out to the presidency of the party to decide on whether to put the issue on the agenda of the meeting of the party's political assembly on 20 March.

The EPP presidency includes Juncker, EU Council president Donald Tusk (an Orban critic), commissioner Marianne Thyssen, who hails from the Flemish party calling for the expulsion, and commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen, whose Finnish party has also called for Fidesz to be kicked out.

The presidency however also includes supporters, or Fidesz-friendly figures, such as Fidesz MEP Kinga Gal, and European Parliament president Antonio Tajani - whose Forza Italia party is a strong ally of Orban's, despite the latter's recent openings to the rival Matteo Salvini of the League.

Depending on what is asked by the parties and decided by the presidency, there could be further discussions at the next assembly meeting on 9 April - or parties could push for a vote.

The EPP's lead candidate for the EU commission presidency, and EPP group leader in the parliament, Germany's Manfred Weber, told German weekly Der Spiegel on Friday that "all options are on the table".

"We are currently discussing this within the EPP," he said, adding: "Viktor Orban has badly damaged the EPP with his comments and poster campaign, so I expect him to apologise and stop these actions".

EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news

The European Commission has branded the latest campaign by the Hungarian government as 'fake news', after Orban's government accused Juncker of pressing ahead with migration proposals that threaten the country's security.

EPP poised to pick lead candidate, amid struggle over Orban

The EU's largest political family has gathered in Helsinki to chose its lead candidate for the European election next May. They need to take on populists - but are struggling to deal with the 'enfant terrible' within their own ranks.

Agenda

Orban's EPP place and summertime back This WEEK

The EPP continues to struggle to deal with Orban's Fidesz party, while the Hungarian PM's favourite topic - migration - will be back on home affairs ministers' agenda. And the UK is set to leave the EU this month.

Orban rejects Weber's plea to stop anti-EU posters

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban has pledged to put up new anti-migrant posters - despite hopes in his centre-right EU family that he might "apologise and put an end" to the campaign.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan politicians extradition hearing postponed
  2. Germany: EU banking union deal possible in December
  3. EIB: no more funding of fossil-fuel projects
  4. UK defence chief: Russia could trigger World War III
  5. Hungary's Varhelyi will face more questions
  6. Police put former Berlusconi MEP Comi under house arrest
  7. MEPs criticise Poland for criminalising sex education
  8. UK will not name new commissioner before election

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. Key moments for new commission This WEEK
  2. EU threatens legal action against UK over commissioner
  3. Corruption in the Balkans: the elephant in the room
  4. Green MEPs unconvinced by Romanian commissioner
  5. EU states fell short on sharing refugees, say auditors
  6. Hungary's commissioner-to-be grilled over loyalty to Orban
  7. Widow's plea as EU diplomats debate Magnitsky Act
  8. Leftist MEPs call on EU to address crisis in Chile

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us