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Fidesz members will leave the European People’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament, Viktor Orban announced on Wednesday following a vote by MEPs on a reform of the statutes.
“I inform you that the members of Fidesz are withdrawing from the PPE group” with “immediate effect”. In a letter posted on Twitter by one of his ministers, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Wednesday 3 March announced the departure of his party from the group of the European People’s Party (EPP, right) to the European Parliament.
The move comes in reaction to a vote by MEPs on a reform of the statutes, making it easier to expel the group. Vote that the leader considered to be “undemocratic, unfair and unacceptable”. “It is quite disappointing that the EPP group is trying to silence our democratically elected MEPs,” he added in his letter.
The EPP group, the first political family of the EU, which brings together right-wing parties, adopted on Wednesday an amendment to its internal rules, which allows the suspension or exclusion of entire delegations, and no longer just of individual parliamentarians.
This reform was approved by 148 votes to 28 and 4 abstentions, indicates the official vote count.
Twelve members of Fidesz are concerned. A thirteenth Hungarian MP, also a member of the EPP, but not of Fidesz, has decided to stay, which allows the group to continue to count Hungary among the member countries.
Exclusion from Fidesz already demanded several times
In addition, the EPP must, for its part, meet to decide on the exclusion of Fidesz, demanded by several small parties. The meeting will be called by its president, Donald Tusk, when the pandemic permits.
This departure puts an end to a soap opera of several years: the exclusion of Fidesz has been demanded several times within the EPP, because of its virulent anti-Brussels positions and measures deemed to infringe fundamental rights.
The reform of the statutes comes following the sanctions decided in December against the MEP of Fidesz Tamas Deutsch, who had compared the attitude of the president of the parliamentary group Manfred Weber to that of the Gestapo.
Forty EPP parliamentarians (out of 187), led by the Austrian Othmar Karas, then demanded his exclusion, but the MEP was ultimately only given a withdrawal of his rights to speak in plenary on behalf of the PPE and to be appointed rapporteur.