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Hungary’s PM Orban announces new EU Parliament alliance

Three parties have created Patriots for Europe to secure more influence for right-wing leaders

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has announced the creation of a new EU Parliament alliance, in cooperation with right-wing parties from Austria and the Czech Republic. The announcement comes a day before Budapest takes on the rotating six-month EU presidency.

The new group, presented as “Patriots for Europe” comprises Fidesz, the party led by Orban; the Czech Republic’s largest opposition bloc, ANO, chaired by the country’s former prime minister, Andrej Babis; and the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO), headed by Herbert Kickl.

“Today we are creating a political formation that I believe will very quickly become the largest faction of the European right-wing,” the Hungarian said during the press briefing attended by Babis and Kickl. He expressed hope that the alliance would dominate the right of the EU’s political spectrum.

EU policies must be altered in accordance with the results of the latest European Parliament elections, according to the Hungarian leader, who stressed that the current political groups will inevitably split.

The results of the election carried out on June 9 revealed that citizens across the 27-nation bloc had mostly shifted away from the left, although the performance of the right-wing and conservative parties varied from country to country. The ruling coalitions in Germany, France and Italy were effectively smashed by the right.

Orban’s Fidesz has received 11 seats in the EU parliament, while FPO and ANO have six and seven seats respectively, with all three parties becoming strongest in their countries in the elections.

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According to the current rules, 23 members are needed to form a political group in the European Parliament, and at least one-quarter of the member states must be represented within the alliance.

In a statement to the media, the leaders of the three parties expressed hope that the new group would be joined by many other European parties in the coming days.

Hungary is set to take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1 and will remain in charge until the end of the year. During the period, Hungarian diplomats will chair meetings in Brussels and shape the EU’s political agenda.

Orban has faced sharp criticism in the EU for pursuing policies that run counter to those of Brussels. Since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, Budapest has refused to provide weapons to Kiev, calling for a diplomatic solution instead, and has maintained economic ties with Russia. The prime minister had previously said that the results of the election had won time for the bloc and “slowed the train hurtling towards war.”

June 30, 2024 at 09:42PM

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