During the 20 March gathering of the European People’s Party (EPP), Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his ruling Fidesz Party could face “renewed calls” for their expulsion from the EPP, The Guardian reports.
The newspaper cited several unnamed sources as saying that no official disciplinary procedure against Fidesz has been launched by the EPP although the expulsion of the party will be high on the centre-right bloc’s agenda during the gathering.
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Additionally, a source close to EPP parliamentary leader Manfred Weber was quoted by The Guardian as saying that it was too early to say whether he would support calls for Fidesz to be expelled.
“There is growing anger in the EPP family. As in the past, [Weber] is very much worried about a split, a further division of Europe between east and west," the source said.
Weber, for his part, lashed out at Orban over his poster campaign against Jean-Claude Juncker, warning that “one cannot belong to the EPP and campaign against the current EPP commission president”.
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Weber was echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who expressed “full solidarity” with Juncker amid the escalating tensions between Orban and Juncker.
The European Commission president earlier suggested that Hungary’s ruling party should be expelled from the EPP, comparing Orban to Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French right-wing National Rally party.
“They didn’t vote for me in the European Parliament. […] I remember Ms Le Pen, she said ‘I’m not voting for you’. I said: ‘I don’t want your vote’. There are certain votes you just don’t want," Juncker stressed.
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Hungarian Prime Minister Orban has repeatedly accused Soros of endorsing mass immigration in order to weaken European nations, while the country’s parliament passed the so-called “Stop Soros” bill, criminalising aid to illegal migrants and making it harder for refugees to seek asylum in Hungary.
The Hungarian government’s chief spokesman, Zoltan Kovacs, in turn, rejected suggestions that Fidesz would be forced to leave the EPP, a procedure that can only be launched by the EPP’s most senior leaders or a joint letter from at least seven parties in five countries.
“We belong there, we are members and our election campaign is going to be in line with the European People’s party," Kovacs underscored.