Sunday

29th Mar 2020

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban is set to host the leader of the European Parliament's centre-right political group in Budapest on Tuesday (12 March).

The meeting with group chair Manfred Weber follows weeks of speculation on the future of Orban's Fidesz nationalist party within the centre-right EPP.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Some dozen Fidesz MEPs belong to the EPP, the European Parliament's largest political group.

But Orban's anti-migration campaign and nation-wide poster ad attacks against philanthropist George Soros and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker have upped the pressure on Weber to boot out Fidesz from the political group ahead of the European elections in May.

The political rift appears to have only widened after Weber's demand last week for an apology from Orban over the anti-EU rhetoric remains unanswered.

Hungary's problems run deep amid a backsliding of political rights, the lowest since 1989, and a European Parliament that last September demanded Budapest be censured over the "clear risk" of breaching EU values.

The commission last month launched a counter-attack against Orban's anti-migration campaign, which the chief commission spokesman described as "ludicrous conspiracy theory".

Weber's apparent reluctance to move against Orban has also cast a shadow over his campaign to become the next European commission president.

Earlier this month, Weber said Orban must reverse his decision to expel the Central European University (CEU) from Budapest in order to remain in the EPP.

He also told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag over the weekend that Orban wants to remain in the EPP.

"He knows that in order to do so, he has to show that he accepts our common values and show solidarity with us in the campaign," he said.

Tuesday's encounter is billed as a last-ditch effort for reconciliation between the two sides ahead of 20 March meeting where a final decision is set to be made on the future relationship.

But in a radio interview last week, Orban appeared defiant, saying there will be no compromise from Hungary against migration and on "the protection of Christian culture".

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.

EP triggers sanctions procedure, Hungary calls 'fraud'

The parliament launched a sanctions procedure against Hungary in an unprecedented vote that required a two-thirds majority from MEPs. Hungary is calling the vote a "fraud" and a "petty revenge" for its hardline migration policy.

Orban says 'sorry', EPP says 'not enough'

As the European People's Party braces itself to decide next week whether to expel its Hungarian member, prime minister Viktor Orban says sorry for calling his critics "useful idiots".

Opinion

It is high time to exclude Fidesz from the EPP

"We have made our choice: we choose democracy and rule of law," write the leaders of the National Coalition Party in Finland and the Moderate Party in Sweden.

Opinion

Manfred Weber and the art of passive resistance

Hungary's government dismantled rule of law institutions and democratic guarantees in broad daylight. This could have been perfectly addressed by Weber's European People's Party years ago - but it dithered.

News in Brief

  1. UK health minister tests positive for coronavirus
  2. Orban: coronavirus exposes EU 'weaknesses'
  3. Court orders Netherlands to pay colonial victims
  4. Belgian cat 'infected by coronavirus'
  5. UK PM Johnson tests positive for coronavirus
  6. EU agrees Libya naval mission after Greek solution
  7. US to upgrade its nuclear bombs in Europe
  8. US surpasses China and Italy with 82,404 corona cases

Five new post-Brexit MEPs to watch

Five MEPs to keep an eye on from the 27 new members who are joining the European Parliament this week, following the UK's departure from the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. EU doctors: bring refugees on Greek islands to safety
  2. Russia's top coronavirus 'fake news' stories
  3. WHO warning on lockdown mental health
  4. Virus: Frontex tells officers to keep guarding Greek borders
  5. EU heads struggle to find joint virus response
  6. Poland's sham presidential election in a pandemic
  7. Von der Leyen warns 'end selfishness' in virus crisis
  8. Chinese ambassador to EU: put trust before politics

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us