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Orban withdraws Weber support

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Hungary’s Prime Minister Orban does not want to support EPP lead candidate Weber in the EU election. The EPP had previously distanced itself from Orban’s Fidesz party and had suspended its membership.

Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban refuses CSU politician Manfred Weber’s support for his intended election as President of the EU Commission. Orban told journalists at a meeting with the Austrian vice-chancellor and chairman of the right-wing populist FPÖ, Heinz-Christian Strache in Vienna.

Orban justified his decision with the fact that the CSU politician had said that he did not want to become European Commission head of parliament with Hungarian votes. This was such an „insulting“ and „serious point of view“ that he, as the Hungarian head of government, could not support Weber, Orban said. He added that all candidates for the post of Commission President were „obviously inappropriate“.

EPP suspended Orbans Fidesz

For its part, the EPP had distanced itself from Orban’s Fidesz party in March and had suspended the party’s membership of the European People’s Party (EPP) for an indefinite period. Background are anti-European and anti-Semitic statements from the party. One of the criticisms was Hungary’s campaign against Brussels, especially against outgoing Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who is also a member of the EPP camp.

Orban recently demanded that the EPP work with right-wing populist parties such as the Italian Lega. Chancellor Angela Merkel and CDU chief Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer contradicted him. There will be no cooperation with the right-wing parties after the European elections that will take place in Germany on 26 May.

Kramp-Karrenbauer expects withdrawal of Fidesz

CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer expects Fidesz to leave the EPP. „He has sent a clear signal that he will leave the EPP with his behavior in the past few days and the meeting with the Italian Lega boss,“ said the Reuters CDU chief. Due to the suspension, Fidesz can no longer participate in any EPP decision, she stressed. One will certainly discuss the subject at the next meeting after the European elections.

Fidesz and FPÖ in one line

Orban and Strache emphasized that they share the same opinion on „strategic issues“ such as security and migration policies. It was about defeating the „hopelessly migrant-friendly leftist,“ Orban said.

Strache emphasized that Orban’s „responsible“ safeguarding of the southeastern borders against refugees on this issue in Europe had „brought about a rethink“. He was grateful to Orban for that. In the summer of 2015, Hungary had built a fence at the height of the influx of refugees on the borders with Croatia and Serbia.

After the meeting, Orban said he hopes that conservative parties and „right-wing patriotic parties“ will work together in the EU. But he refused a statement about a possible transfer of his party to a faction that would include the FPÖ, the Italian Lega of the right-wing populist Matteo Salvini and the French Marine Le Pen. This question should only be decided after the European elections. Four days earlier Orban had received the Lega boss Salvini in Budapest.