Hungary ruling party urged to forge EU far-right alliance


Budapest (AFP)

A Hungarian newspaper close to Prime Minister Viktor Orban's party urged it Thursday to quit the European Parliament's conservative group and forge a more radical alliance instead of yielding to an ultimatum over an anti-EU poster campaign.

"The time has come to make a new alliance. But a new alliance can only be forged if we break up the old one," said the Magyar Nemzet daily, which is seen as the mouthpiece of the populist leader's Fidesz party.

Orban's chief of staff Gergely Gulyas stressed Thursday that Fidesz wants to stay in the centre-right European People's Party (EPP). Though Fidesz has already said it will not yield to the ultimatum.

After months of rising tensions between Brussels and Budapest, the EPP's Manfred Weber gave three conditions this week for Fidesz to remain in the grouping.

Those included immediately withdrawing a "fake news campaign" against European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Weber is the EPP's leading candidate to replace Juncker after May's European elections.

The editorial in Magyar Nemzet said "humiliating negotiations" with the EPP should end, and a new alliance should be forged with ruling far-right factions from Italy, Austria and Poland.

"Only this way can the battle against immigration be led... The EPP no longer defends the nation, Christianity, or the traditional family model, or anything that can be called European tradition," it said.

The EPP is the biggest party in the European Parliament and comprises the main centre-right movements in Europe, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU and France's Les Republicains, which have not moved against Orban.

Orban's chief of staff, Gulyas, said Fidesz is "not negotiating with the European Parliament's radical parties".

Harald Vilimsky, secretary general of Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), has said his grouping in the European Parliament, the Europe of Nations and Freedom Group, would welcome Fidesz with "open arms".