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Hungary's Orban teams up with nationalists in Italy, Poland

March 19, 2021

Hungary's nationalist government plans to reboot European right-wing politics alongside like-minded allies in Italy and Poland.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki talk during their meeting in Budapest
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at a meeting in BudapestImage: Zoltan Fischer/Hungarian Prime Minister's Press Office/Handout/REUTERS

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Friday said he hoped to reorganize right-wing politics in Europe by teaming up with political allies Italy and Poland.

Orban — criticized by mainstream conservatives as too authoritarian — made the comment after his ruling Fidesz party formally made a split from the Europewide center-right European People's Party (EPP).

The EPP is the transnational party of both European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

What did Orban say?

Orban said he planned talks with "the Poles," referring to Poland's governing right-wing PiS party.

Like Hungary, Poland has been at odds with the EU for years over its domestic rule of law breaches.

He also said he would also meet Italy's Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni, the respective leaders of the Northern League and Brothers of Italy, two vocally anti-immigration and euroskeptic parties.

Orban said the political allies would reorganize European right-wing politics and "we will plan the future together."

Why did Fidesz break away?

Orban said Fidesz has politically drifted away from the EPP on several issues in recent years, including on taxation and migration.

He also said the party disagreed with the way EPP members had approached the coronavirus pandemic.

Orban wrote earlier this month that he envisaged a new right-wing force of "our type of people."

The group would give "a home to all European citizens who do not want migrants, multiculturalism, who are not addicted to the LGBT mania."

The Hungarian premier added that it would be a platform for those "who protect Christian traditions, respect national sovereignty."

Fidesz makes the split formal

Fidesz finalized its break from the EPP on Thursday — a formality after years of dispute over fundamental EU values and the rule of law.

The EPP confirmed it had received a letter from Fidesz, terminating its membership of the grouping.

Fidesz's membership has been on ice since March 2019 and its 12 members of the European Parliament had left the EPP delegation earlier this month.

The EPP confirmed that the Hungarian party's membership was now terminated automatically.

rc/rt (Reuters, dpa)