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Fine Gael welcomes departure of Viktor Orban's party from their European Parliament grouping

The Hungarian leader has overseen an increasingly authoritarian regime.

Then taoiseach Leo Varadkar meeting his counterpart Viktor Orban in Hungary in 2018. (File photo)
Then taoiseach Leo Varadkar meeting his counterpart Viktor Orban in Hungary in 2018. (File photo)
Image: PA Images

FINE GAEL’S FIVE MEPs have welcomed the departure of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party from the EPP parliamentary grouping they are a part of. 

Orban announced today that his right-wing Fidesz party was leaving the EPP after the parliamentary grouping changed its rules to allow it to exclude MEPs en masse. 

Fidesz has been suspended from the EPP since March 2019 but the rule change was seen as a way of moving to expel the party. 

The centre-right EPP is the largest bloc in the European Parliament and, as well as Fine Gael, is also the home of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party. 

Orban’s ruling Fidesz party has 12 MEPs and had significant sway in the EPP until moves were made to sideline him due to his party’s extremist policies.

Orban has overseen an increasingly authoritarian regime that has introduced anti-democratic and anti-LGBT laws

In a letter to EPP group leader Manfred Weber posted on Twitter by one of Orban’s ministers, the Hungarian PM said: “I hereby inform you that Fidesz MEPs resign their membership in the EPP group.” 

The departure of the Fidesz group ends years of rancour between EPP parties over whether to kick out Orban’s party or keep its MEPs on board in the centre-right grouping to avoid them siding with eurosceptic populists. 

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The move to change the EPP’s rules to allow for the suspension or dismissal of an entire national party delegation was passed by a vote of 148 to 28.

Fine Gael’s MEPs voted in favour of the rule change with the party’s leader in the European Parliament Sean Kelly MEP saying that Fidesz “does not belong” in the EPP. 

“We stand for a fair society that provides equal opportunities and protects the legitimate interests of future generations. We value human dignity, freedom, equality and justice, democracy, human rights and solidarity. Anyone who does not support those core values does not belong in the EPP Group,” Kelly said. 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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