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Scholar on Fidesz Pausing Its Membership in EPP: It Has 'Very Political Nature'

CC BY 2.0 / European People's Party / Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaking at European People's Party's meeting (File photo).
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaking at European People's Party's meeting (File photo). - Sputnik International
On Wednesday the European People’s Party, the largest group in the European Parliament, voted to suspend the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz. Sputnik spoke to Miklos Szantho, Director of the Budapest-based Center for Fundamental Rights, and asked what was next for Fidesz and the EPP.

Sputnik: What do you think the result of the independent investigation, initiated by the EPP, into the rule of law in Hungary, will be?

Miklos Szantho: I think although formally it will be proposed as a professional investigation, I suppose that it will be a political investigation as it happened nearly 20 years ago in Austria. So this screenplay of what we are observing here, pertaining to Fidesz, initiated by the European People's Party happened extremely similarly in 2000. And as we have seen it 19 years ago that the evaluation of the situation in Austria by EPP was also a political evaluation and a political document, I think that political motivations will play a more important role than professional ones.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaking at European People's Party's meeting (File photo). - Sputnik International
Hungary's Fidesz on Verge of Expulsion From EU Parliament's Center-Right Group
Sputnik: Is differing positions on migrant policy the fundamental stumbling block for EU/Hungarian relations?

Miklos Szantho: To tell you the truth the whole story depends on two basic questions: one, leads us back to the clash of world views or the fault lines brought up by the migration crisis; amongst EPP members it is about multi-culturalism, migration, national sovereignty, national identity, Christian heritage and Christian values — that's on one side. And the other side of the story, of course, has a very political nature as it depends on the result of the upcoming EP election.

READ MORE: Hungary's Fidesz Agrees to Voluntarily Pause Its Membership in EPP — Orban

Sputnik: Do you think Fidesz is still holding out hope for having their suspension quashed after the EP elections?

Miklos Szantho: If it would happen that Fidesz would be the most popular party amongst EPP members according to the result of the EP election, it would be very strange to exclude Fidesz from the EPP.

Refugees stand behind a fence at the Hungarian border with Serbia near the town of Horgos on September 16, 2015 - Sputnik International
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READ MORE: Hungary Sticking to Anti-EU/Soros Ads Amid EPP Threats to Exclude Orban's Party

Sputnik: If the EPP maintains that Fidesz should be expelled even after the European parliamentary elections, would Fidesz consider joining a different, more nationalist and anti-Brussels alliance of MEPs instead?

Miklos Szantho: Yes it's possible if Fidesz would be excluded after the EP elections. Because that's a possible scenario, we cannot rule it out, or if Fidesz would voluntarily step out from EPP, then this is an option for Fidesz to team up with those other parties from Poland, Italy and other countries, which are pro-EU parties but EU realistic as well, promoting Christian heritage, national sovereignty and other mentioned values and trying to renew Europe in that way, as the question about the future of Europe, also mentioned by Mr Macron a few weeks ago, is on the table.

The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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