Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban wants to join ECR or a new right-wing group.(Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

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Orbán cosies up to Meloni in hopes of joining ECR

Fidesz has been on its own in the European Parliament since 2021 after it quit the European People’s Party


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said he would like to join a group that includes Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

In a June 4 interview with Il Giornale, Orbán opened up about his plans for future right-wing co-operation, expressing the hope that his Fidesz party could join up with Fratelli D’Italia’s European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, or whatever larger faction the Italians end up building after this month’s elections.

The Hungarians have been on their own in the European Parliament since they quit the European People’s Party (EPP) in 2021 over ideological differences.

Fidesz’s position on Ukraine has since prevented it from joining up with the ECR, with the group having been steadfast in its support of Kyiv.

“We want to join the ECR even though we are aware that there are issues that may divide us from some of the parties that are part of it, starting with the vision of the war in Ukraine,” Orbán said, adding that he was also interested in this new Franco-Italian supergroup floated by Marine Le Pen last month.

“We have various options, including the hypothesis of a new, large European right-wing group — the priority is to do something useful for Europe,” he said, arguing that right-wing parties must work together.

“We need a resurgence of the Right in Europe, we have a historic opportunity to change the majority. The right-wing parties must co-operate, we are in the hands of two women who have to find an agreement.”

Orbán said he had known Meloni for a considerable time, before praising her as a moral and capable politician.

“The first time I met her, I thought: she will make her way because she has two more important qualities for those who are involved in politics — character and personality,” he said.

“Besides, she’s a Christian woman who loves her country, that’s what it takes.”

“Of course, now that she is in government she has more responsibilities, but in the year-and-a-half of government she has done very well and is respected in Europe, I see this because I am also in the European Council. Now it also has an important role in Europe and much will depend on its decisions,” he added.

Orbán said he expected two things from the upcoming European Parliament elections: “To strengthen democracy and… a new right-wing majority. ”

According to the Hungarian PM, the “European Commission has failed on agriculture, on war, on immigration and on the economy.”

“Strengthening democracy means electing a different Commission from the current one, which, as far as the [Hungarian] government has been concerned, has been the worst.”

The Prime Minister said he felt that was because Hungary “is the only Conservative island in a Liberal ocean”.

“An island of freedom where you can criticise gender, immigration policies and war without consequences.

‘Today in Europe, freedom is endangered by political correctness and the next generation of Europeans risks no longer being free,” he said.

“We must fight for them.”