Poland’s Conservative (PiS) party has declared it is open to the idea of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, joining the European Conservative Reformers (ECR) group in the European Parliament.
Former Polish Conservative prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki met Orbán to declare his openness to Fidesz joining the ECR during a visit to Brussels on January 31.
In in addition, he criticised the European Union for what he called its constant attempts to “blackmail” Hungary regarding EU funding and its views on the war in Ukraine.
“I can only tell the Hungarian Government and Prime Minister Orbán that we are very much supporting his efforts to fend off those brutal attempts at blackmail,” Morawiecki told the media.
“We do not accept such an approach. I don’t think this is how the EU should operate.”
Morawiecki said the EU threat that it will seek to cut financial support for Hungary if Orbán continued to block a €50 billion package for Ukraine was another example of “one attempt after another to blackmail Hungary”.
The PiS and Fidesz have been at odds over Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, with the previous PiS government at the forefront of efforts to assist Kyiv militarily. Orban and his Government have since argued for de-escalation and peace efforts to resolve the conflict in Europe.
Morawiecki said the PiS “obviously supports Ukraine in their fight against Russia and financing for Ukraine”.
Still, in what appeared a mild shift towards a more nuanced approach on the matter, he added that “this has to happen without damaging our common policies, in particular the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy”.
During the PiS’ time in power, it strongly supported Ukraine in its defence against Russian aggression but also clashed with Kyiv over trade policy, in particular Ukrainian agriculture exports.
Both the PiS and Fidesz agree on the need for the EU to be an alliance of sovereign nation states, rather than an ever-closer union.
They also concur on strict border controls against illegal immigrants and are both sceptical over parts of the bloc’s climate agenda and EU attempts to set standards regarding family law and “cultural issues”.
The PiS and Orbán have also allied in resisting the EU’s efforts to sanction Member States over rule-of-law infringements and both have good relations with the US Republican party and Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement.
In 2019, the Fidesz party was suspended from the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and decided to leave the group two years later, leaving the party currently unaffiliated with any of the recognised political groups in the European Parliament.
The PiS is the largest force within the Parliament’s European Conservatives and Reformists group, which also includes Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, the Sweden Democrats and Spain’s Vox among its members.