Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán has withdrawn his endorsement of European People’s Party lead candidate Manfred Weber for European Commission president.
Speaking in a joint press conference with far-right Austrian deputy chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, Mr Orbán, whose Fidesz party was suspended from the EPP on March 20 for its democratic backsliding, has criticised the EPP spitzenkandidat for his promise not to accept the Hungarian ruling party’s support for the position of EU Commission president.
Earlier in March, Mr Weber told the German press that he would not take the EU’s top job if he needed the votes of Fidesz MEPs or other far-right parties.
“[Mr Weber] would also have been good for us as Commission president, but he announced that he does not want to be elected president with the support of the Hungarians. He has insulted the country so much that it would not be right to support him neither from the perspective of democracy nor that of moral reasons,” said the Hungarian PM.
Mr Orbán’s announcement comes four days after negotiations with Italian deputy PM Matteo Salvini, the leader of the new far-right European parliamentary group European Alliance for People and Nations, with whom he pledged to seek a stronger cooperation, and only a day after French nationalist MEP Marine Le Pen invited the Hungarian and Polish ruling parties to join Europe of Nations and Freedom, another far-right bloc in the European Parliament including French and Austrian radicals.
While the Hungarian PM has again called for an alliance between the EPP and the European far-right groups, leading European conservatives including Bavarian PM Markus Söder and Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz denounced the move, suggesting that Orbán’s Fidesz party will end up in one of the two major far-right groups.