Tensions have risen between Hungary’s
Viktor Orban and the European Union (EU) as Orban’s administration was
subjected to scrutiny over the alleged misuse of EU funds.
470,000 people signed a petition launched
by Independent MP Akos Hadhazy, to pressure Orban’s government into joining the
European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), the EU’s new anti-corruption
watchdog for EU funding.
The Hungarian government has rejected
joining the EPPO, citing national sovereignty concerns and reservations about
Orban’s Fidesz party also faces the
risk of getting suspended or expelled from the main centre-right group in the
European parliament because of an ongoing dispute with European People’s Party
On March 20, the EPP will meet in
Brussels for a political assembly regarding Mr. Orban’s commitment to
democratic principles and Fidesz expulsion.
Thirteen EPP member parties formally
asked for Fidesz to be suspended or expelled after the Hungarian government
launched an anti-migration billboard campaign aimed to mock European Commission
President Jean-Claude Juncker and American-Hungarian businessman George Soros.
Ahead of the showdown in Brussels,
Orban criticized EU again on Friday:
“When they attack Poland from
Brussels, then they also attack all of Central Europe and us Hungarians,”
Orbán told a crowd of thousands in Budapest, marking the anniversary of
Hungary’s 1848 revolution.
“For the empire-builders who
want to extend their shadow to Central Europe, our message is: They will always
have to count on the strong Hungarian-Polish bond.”
Mr. Orban stated that
Fidesz wants “to preserve Christian culture and protect borders” but had been
“attacked by pro-immigration forces” in the EPP that prefer to build a Europe
that is populated by a mix of immigrants.
He also expressed his intent to
transform the EPP and align the organization with his mission to protect
Hungary and the rest of Europe from the evils of migration from the Middle East
Orban told listeners of a Hungarian radio show
that “there is room inside it for anti-immigration forces like us”. However,
Orban admitted that Fidesz may find itself ostracized in the EPP.