Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
has declined to join a proposed populist “supergroup” in the European
Parliament led by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini.
Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas
held a press conference to announce that the Fidesz party have opted to remain
a member of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), despite being
suspended from the group in March.
“We respect the Italian deputy prime minister
and the Italian government and the result, which made the Northern League
Italy’s strongest party after the European Parliament election,” Gulyas said,
but added: “Nonetheless, I see not much chance for a co-operation on a party
level or in a joint parliamentary group.”
Gulyas further explained that there
are members of the supergroup that Hungary could no longer work with. He also stressed that it would not be to
Fidesz’s disadvantage to remain part of the EPP family.
After the suspension in March, Orbán
expressed that his party was looking into the possibility of establishing
alliances with other parties in Europe, including the Italian populists:
“Hungary is too small to enforce its
opinion in Europe. Media, NGOs, universities in Europe are all against us and
can destroy us. That’s why we need strong allies,” he explained.
There were speculations that Orban
would join Salvini after he called the Italian deputy prime minister his “hero”
for stopping illegal migrants coming to Italy via the Mediterranean Sea.
In May, Orban declared his
admiration for Salvini again calling him “the most important person in Europe
Hungary’s controversial decision is
not the only setback for Salvini’s new populist group, with a source telling
The Sun newspaper that talks on bringing in Nigel Farage and his new Brexit
Party fell through.
It has been reported that Farage’s talks with
Salvini and Marine Le Pen broke down after he allegedly said he would sign up
his Brexit Party’s 29 MEPs — the joint largest single party in Brussels after
last week’s elections — only if he is appointed the leader.