Members of the European Parliament belonging to the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its acronym, RMDSZ) will remain in the European People’s Party (EPP), the Alliance’s president, Hunor Kelemen, announced on his Facebook page. However, he also expressed his concern that the EPP is not open to differing views (via Maszol).
Kelemen reacted in a Facebook post to the announcement that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party will quit the historically center-right bloc of the European Parliament following a vote that paved the way for Fidesz to be excluded from the Group. Orbán reacted to the vote by penning a letter in which he made it clear that his party won’t stick around, as the change is “clearly a hostile move against Fidesz and our voters.”
Calling the development “sad and frustrating,” Kelemen said that
“Exclusions lead nowhere, making the People’s Party faction neither stronger nor better nor more effective. The EPP is accepting differences of opinion less and less, and that is the real problem.”
“This type of group, which includes political formations from different countries with different historical experiences can remain strong only if it allows for different opinions, is able to integrate them, and distinguishes itself markedly from other groups with similar structures but different ideologies,” Kelemen wrote.
The Alliance MEPs voted against the change in the rules because they believe they weaken the internal cohesion of the EPP Group. “The RMDSZ remains a member of the Group, and we will voice our opinion, as always. The return to the People’s Party tradition is a must, which for me is the EPP led by Wilfried Martens (…) we firmly believe it is not too late to return to our roots,” Kelemen’s Facebook post reads.
One of the notable antecedents of Orbán’s move is that some MEPs, such as Othmar Karas from Austria, had voiced an opinion recommending that Fidesz members in the EPP Group be suspended to “reflect” Fidesz’s situation. The Orbán-led party has been suspended within the European People’s Party since 2019. The new rules, voted in by the majority of EPP members, paved the way toward a vote to suspend the membership rights of Fidesz MEPs.
Title image: RMDSZ President Hunor Kelemen (left) and Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán (right). Image source: Kelemen’s Facebook page