Weber says dispute with Viktor Orban not resolved

If there is no change Hungarian premier would face potential expulsion from the main European centre-right bloc, EPP

Photo: EPA Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) receives Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament Manfred Weber.

Manfred Weber, head of the EU’s largest political group, announced on Tuesday that Viktor Orban’s membership remains under threat after direct talks in Budapest failed to solve a dispute with Hungary’s prime minister.

“Today in my talks with Prime Minister Orban we had a constructive atmosphere but the problems are not yet solved,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “We as [the] EPP have clear fundamental values and these values are not negotiable for us, so they have to be respected from all our EPP member parties.”

Weber also stressed that in case Orban does not oblige to the requirements of the EPP, his Fidesz party could be kicked out of it next week. The warning comes as pressure has been building on Weber to bring Orban to heel after he initiated a billboard campaign against Jean-Claude Juncker, who is also an EPP member. The campaign was almost immediately scrutinased by the EU, since it was heavily accusing Brussels of pushing migration plans threatening Hungary. A caption, more precisely, says the EU plans to adopt mandatory relocation quotas for migrants, weaken the border protection rights of Member States and make arrivals easier with a “migrant visa”.

This conflict made Weber, initial Orban supporter, to take a harder line against the Hungarian PM. Especially since 13 of the parties within the EPP wrote to Joseph Daul, the group’s president, requesting that Fidesz be ejected.

As a result, Weber has ordered Fidesz an immediate and permanent end to the campaign against the European Union, renewed support from the Hungarian government for the Central European University founded by liberal financier George Soros to remain in Budapest, and an official apology, delivered to the parties from the EPP.  He repeated his three conditions for Fidesz’s continuing membership on Tuesday, saying that for Orban "to show he was sorry would be a good step.”

As Europost reminds, last week PM Viktor Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas made a promise to take down all the anti-Brussels billboards which were part of Fidesz's campaign for the upcoming EU elections in May.

“The government has approved the plan about the protection of families, so from next week, these billboards will be on display,” Gulyas said, but declined to respond about their place in the later stages of the campaign. The Fidesz party also declined to deliver an apology to EPP member parties, as requested.

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