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Diametrically opposed interpretations of Fidesz’ EPP suspension

March 23rd, 2019

A liberal gonzo journalist thinks that Fidesz was humiliated by the EPP. A pro-government pundit finds the suggestion that Fidesz lost the dispute with the EPP absurd.

Magyar Nemzet reports that the resolution on the suspension of Fidesz’s EPP membership was a last-minute solution, before Mr. Orbán submitted his declaration that Fidesz would leave the centre-right party alliance. In a last-ditch effort, a few sentences that the Hungarian side judged unacceptable were deleted from the document and it was agreed that Fidesz would voluntarily suspend its membership rights. Thus, the document was supported in the vote by all members, including Fidesz, with the exception of three parties that would have insisted on Fidesz’s expulsion.

In Heti Világgazdaság, Árpád W. Tóta contends that PM Orbán was pressured into submission and made to eat humble pie by the European People’s Party. The liberal pundit, known for his highly opinionated pieces, believes that PM Orbán lost a game of chicken for the first time and had to retreat on important symbolic issues. One example Tóta mentions is CEU, which, according to the Prime Minister’s letter to the Bavarian Prime Minister, can continue its operation in Budapest. Tóta goes so far as to suggest that the suspension of Fidesz’ membership in the EPP is a harbinger that Prime Minister Orbán is heading towards the ‘dustbin of history’. He thinks that PM Orbán has weakened and no longer seems invincible.

Magyar Hírlap’s Dániel Kacsoh finds it absurd to suggest that Fidesz lost in the dispute with the EPP. The pro-government analyst stresses that Fidesz has voluntarily agreed to suspend its membership. He finds even more absurd the suggestion by opposition parties, including former PM Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition and Jobbik, that Fidesz wants to quit the EU. In Kacsoh’s interpretation, the EPP needs Fidesz more than the Hungarian governing party needs the EPP. He predicts that after the May European Parliamentary election, the EPP will try to lure Fidesz back.

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