Tusk urges EPP to expel Orban's Fidesz party

Foreign ministers of 13 Member States expressed concern about extraordinary measures

Former EU president and current EPP head Donald Tusk has urged the European People’s Party (EPP), the largest party in the European Parliament, to expel Viktor Orban's Fidesz from its ranks, news wires reported. He made the plea after Hungarian parliament passed a highly controversial coronavirus law, allowing Orban to rule by decree indefinitely.

In a letter to EPP members, Tusk accused Orban of "making use of the pandemic to build a state of permanent emergency", something he said was "morally unacceptable". The EPP has been divided over how to act in the face of persistent breach of EU principles over several years. The party suspended Fidesz in the run-up to the European Parliament elections last year after a row over anti-EU posters. 

Orban has been widely accused of using the virus to further dismantle democratic mechanisms in Hungary. The Commission is set to discuss Hungary's emergency law later today.

Separately, the foreign ministers of 13 Member States - Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, issued a joint statement expressing concern about extraordinary measures taken in some countries in Europe, without naming them.

Here comes the whole statement:

“In this unprecedented situation, it is legitimate that Member States adopt extraordinary measures to protect their citizens and overcome the crisis. We are however deeply concerned about the risk of violations of the principles of rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights arising from the adoption of certain emergency measures.

Emergency measures should be limited to what is strictly necessary, should be proportionate and temporary in nature, subject to regular scrutiny, and respect the aforementioned principles and international law obligations. They should not restrict the freedom of expression or the freedom of the press.

We need to jointly overcome this crisis and to jointly uphold our European principles and values on this path. We therefore support the European Commission initiative to monitor the emergency measures and their application to ensure the fundamental values of the Union are upheld, and invite the General Affairs Council to take up the matter when appropriate.”

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