Commentary

Orbán Has Taken EPP For a Ride (Again)

European politicians have too much on their plate so they are willfully naive when it comes to Orbán. When will they learn to deal with someone who lies?

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Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Union, and Joseph Daul, the party’s leader (above) ordered Orbán in for a chat in Brussels. “There are limits, even for Orbán“, Die Welt quoted sources when they got wind of the meeting, referring to the blatant flouting of European values. “There are boundaries and them must be made clear for him,” said Weber to Die Welt.

After the meeting, there were no photo ops, no press releases, no handshakes. Daul declined to comment about the topics and the details due to the sensitive nature of the meeting, he merely remarked that this wasn’t the last meeting between representatives of EPP and Orbán.

“We agreed not to communicate about this.” (Euronews)

If they agreed then Orbán must have missed the memo because his Orbán’s press guy was quick to present his own spin on the events. He said that it was merely a “return visit” because Weber visited Orbán in March to support his campaign. And the “return visit” will be about Orbán’s plan for his new government.

Orbán’s spokesman went even further and told the press that:

  • the meeting was about the 2019 EP elections
  • The situation is dire because of Brexit and because Brussels couldn’t put a break on immigration.
  • Orbán will support the EPP in reelection despite the hardship.
  • No one was talking about kicking Fidesz out of the EPP, on the contrary!

This was not even the first meeting. As Orbán’s spokesman pressed, Weber was in Budapest before the elections. What the spokesman failed to press is that he wasn’t here to support Orbán’s reelection but to make Orbán compromise on his migrant veto. (Orbán vetoed Brussels’ plans but allowed migrants in nonetheless – both the 1300 quota refugees and over 20 thousand immigrants through his residency bond program).

And Orbán’s “return visit” wasn’t about returning the help for the upcoming European Parliament elections, but yet another reminder that even EPP cannot afford to go this low embracing a self-declared illiberal autocrat as their member.

To take christian democratic members of EPP for a ride and take the wind out of their criticism, in his next radio sermon Orbán announced that from now on he is replacing the term “illiberal nation” with “christian democracy”. After all, if referring to Christianity can melt down the intellectual resistance of voters – it can do so with western European politicians desperate to drop the Orbán issue altogether.

When will the EU learn to deal with the new illiberal weapon of lying in their face – and doing something else? Of lying to them and then lying something else at home, for domestic consumption? What can a civilized person do if Orbán promises anything (with just the right level of negotiation to make it believable) then walks away and does the exact opposite? At least they didn’t publish a handshake this time – they seem to be learning at long last. One of Orbán’s favorite tactic is presenting a smiling handshake – then doing whatever he was doing before the talking-to.

His influence in the EPP had helped Orbán hugely in amassing power and countering criticism. Members of the EPP want to believe (and not lose the Fidesz mandates) and they are hugely complicit in Orbán’s rise and impunity.

Many western nationalist and christian democrat politicians are also no doubt huge fans of Orbán’s less civilized policies. They want to gain power on the back of the migrant paranoia (easier to stoke and ride hysteria than presenting a sober policy) and they just love that Orbán is always ahead of them on the slippery slope. Whenever Orbán sets a new low, the new normal, their own spineless no-policy agenda seems civil in comparison. Orbán says it out loud – and they shake he hands of Orbán – and voilá… another 50000 AfD votes for the CSU.

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One thought on “Orbán Has Taken EPP For a Ride (Again)

  1. Pingback: The Hungarian Thanos | Meanwhile in Budapest

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