Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban told members of the press that the Fidesz party has withdrawn its support for electoral candidate of the EPP Group for the Presidency of the European Commission, Manfred Weber (CSU). He also announced that they are looking for a new candidate.
Previously, Weber expressed that if he needed the votes of Fidesz MEPs to be elected President of the Commission, he would prefer not to be elected.
Orban took the statement as a slight to Hungary:
“Hungary’s government and its head cannot be in the position to support a candidate who has announced that he does not want to be commission president with the votes of the Hungarians. This is a serious position and a violation of the principle to always respect voters.”
Hungary’s Prime Minister declared the May election as a battle between pro- and anti-immigration in Europe.
Orban encouraged mainstream conservatives to align themselves with the populist, nationalist groups after the vote.
Currently, EPP has 217 lawmakers in the 750-strong EU legislature, 12 of them from Fidesz. Polls show that it will lose seats but remain the biggest group, while the far-right, populist parties are foreseen to gain favorable results.
“Loyalty is an important political category,” Orban said. “We would like to stick with the community where we have lived and worked so far. Unless this community tells us that our presence is no longer required.”
Orban did not state who he would support but analysts believe that his meeting with Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, indicates that the two anti-immigration populists will join forces to establish a far-right group in the European Parliament.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said that the anti-immigrant, hard-right Orban had crossed a river:
“With his behavior in the last few days and the meeting with Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, he has given a clear sign that he will leave. The EPP tried to build a bridge to Orban but he had chosen another route.”