Populists in the European Parliament: Orban’s EU right-wing alliance close to obtaining group status

Populists in the European Parliament: Orban’s EU right-wing alliance close to obtaining group status
Populists in the European Parliament: Orban’s EU right-wing alliance close to obtaining group status

Hungary’s head of government wants to make his voice heard in Europe’s parliament with a new right-wing faction. He hopes that the influx of like-minded people will give him strength in the fight against the “Brussels elites”.

The right-wing alliance “Patriots for Europe”, launched by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban just under a week ago, could gain group status in the new EU Parliament. After the radical right-wing party of the Dutchman Geert Wilders and the right-wing populist Danish People’s Party declared their intention to join the alliance, it would meet the conditions for the establishment of a group in the European Parliament elected on June 9.

Orban, who is also the chairman of the Hungarian government party Fidesz, the head of the right-wing Austrian FPÖ, Herbert Kickl, and the chairman of the liberal-populist Czech ANO, Andrej Babis, announced the alliance “Patriots for Europe” in Vienna last Sunday. “A new era is beginning,” Orban said. The new faction will change Europe “even against the will of the Brussels elites.” The group will become the “largest faction of right-wing forces in Europe.”

A “Patriotic Manifesto” published at the same time contains the well-known positions of right-wing, right-wing populist and right-wing extremist parties: rejection of migration and the “Green Deal”, no support for Ukraine, which has been attacked by Russia, and dismantling of integration in the EU in order to strengthen the sovereignty of nation states.

At least 23 members from at least 7 countries are required to form a group in the European Parliament. Orban’s Fidesz, the FPÖ and the ANO together with their 24 members would meet the first criterion. Last Sunday, the Portuguese right-wing party Chega and the Spanish VOX announced that they wanted to join the alliance.

Right-wing Dutch and Danes join

Wilders, head of the Party for Freedom (PVV), said on Friday on X: “We want to join forces and will proudly join the Patriots for Europe.”

A few hours later, Anders Vistisen, a member of the European Parliament from the Danish People’s Party (DVP), followed him. “The Danish People’s Party will join the Patriots for Europe group,” he wrote on X. As the third-largest group in the future, “we can send a clear signal to the federalist extremists and defend the Europe of nation states.”

The Austrian FPÖ, the Dutch PVV, the Danish DVP and the Portuguese Chega belonged to the ultra-right Identity and Democracy (ID) group in the last European Parliament, which they would leave by joining the “Patriots”. The strongest force in the ID is the Rassemblement National (RN) of the French Marine Le Pen. She did not want to comment on possible membership in the new right-wing alliance until Monday, the day after the second round of the French parliamentary elections. Orban, who shares her pro-Russian stance, is counting on her. Only together with the RN MPs would the “Patriots for Europe” have a chance of becoming the third strongest group behind the conservative European People’s Party (EPP) and the Social Democrats (SD) or, as Orban announced, overtaking the other right-wing group, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).

The AfD remains outside

The German AfD, which was excluded from the ID parliamentary group before the European elections, does not see its place in the ranks of the new alliance around Orban. AfD leader Alice Weidel ruled this out last Tuesday. There is an exchange, but at the moment that is not an option. She spoke of a strategic long-term project. “We are linked by friendship, we have incredible overlaps in terms of content, but both parties are subject to political and foreign policy and foreign trade constraints that we must take into account at the moment,” said the AfD leader when asked whether her party was not wanted in the alliance.

The AfD leadership is secretly promoting the theory that the German government could prevent Orban, in his role as Hungarian head of government, from working with the AfD. There is talk of “blackmail potential”. This is happening behind the scenes, cannot be proven, but is not a conspiracy theory, they say.

Respectable success for isolated Hungary

For Orban, who is largely isolated in the EU because of his authoritarian style of government and his proximity to the Kremlin, the forging of a new group in the European Parliament represents a certain achievement, especially if France’s right-wing populists can be won over. Orban’s Fidesz had been a member of the EPP, which also includes the CDU and CSU, since Hungary’s accession to the EU in 2004 and the European elections in the same year. After years of disputes, Fidesz left the EPP to avoid an impending exclusion. The Fidesz MPs subsequently remained non-attached.

Source: Stern

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