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Fidesz could quit EPP, Orbán says

Fidesz may leave the European Union’s umbrella center-right bloc after receiving mixed signals about its intentions following Fidesz’s suspension from the group, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said, according to international newswire reuters.com.

Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán with EPP President Donald Tusk at an earlier meeting.

The European People’s Party suspended Fidesz’s membership in March over concern about Orbán’s populist anti-immigration campaigns and erosion of the rule of law, freedom of the press and minority rights under his tenure. Fidesz was not invited to a two-day EPP gathering in Croatia last week.

“We keep our membership suspended. We are waiting for the EPP to come clean about its views and plans, and then we will make up our minds,” Orbán said. “The question is whether the (EPP’s) new chairman can stop its drift to the left. If he can, we have a common future. If not, we will have to build another political community,” he added.

In a speech to the EPP congress in Zagreb, outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk, the newly elected leader of the EPP, did not name Orbán but made clear the mainstream conservative party group would not change to accommodate right-wing populism.

“We must put a stop to this,” said Tusk. “In a political fight, truth and decency cannot be completely helpless against fake news, manipulation and hate,” reuters.com reports. 

According to a report by government website kormany.hu, Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said that Hungary is open to consultation, adding that "if the EPP’s new president wishes to meet with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, he will have the opportunity to do so."