Donald Tusk, the leader of the European Peopleʼs Party (EPP), wants to expel Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbánʼs party Fidesz from the group until the end of 2020, according to a report by German Press Agency dpa.
The EPP leader told German magazine Der Spiegel that the emergency law in Hungary may not be objectionable from a formal legal point of view, but that it "has nothing more to do with the spirit of democracy."
In March, the Hungarian parliament, where Fidesz enjoys a two-thirds majority, voted to give the government sweeping extraordinary powers in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
"How many times in our history have we seen politicians use laws that have been put in place to expand their powers? You know that from Germany," said Tusk.
He added that the next EPP board meeting could have to wait until at least September.
"But then the time to make a decision will come, of course," he said, referring to his desire to expel the currently suspended Fidesz from the group.
Tusk argued that he wanted to convince his colleagues in the EPP that "we donʼt have to choose between freedom and security, but that we can offer both to the citizens."
Reacting to the EPP Presidentʼs comments, Hungarian State Secretary for International Communication and Relations Zoltán Kovács wrote on Twitter, "Terrific. Good to know that even at times of crisis (when surely there are other things to keep us all busy), Orbánophobes like @donaldtusk still find the time and place to take swipes at Hungary."
Tusk also criticized the Polish governmentʼs plan to hold the upcoming presidential election despite the pandemic.
"Our constitution prohibits changing voting rights less than six months before the election. Now thatʼs exactly what is happening," said Tusk.
The Polish government wants to alter voting rights so that all votes can be made by post in the election scheduled for May 10.
Polandʼs ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) chief Jaroslaw Kaczynski is more dangerous than Orbán, Tusk claimed.
"Orbán can be cynical, but heʼs also pragmatic," he said. "Kaczynski, on the other hand, is downright pathological about getting as much power as possible."
As a former prime minister of Poland, Tusk has been a long-time political opponent of PiS.