Reacting to the EPP decision to suspend Fidesz’s membership in the EPP, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament Udo Bullmann said:
“For a long time I have been calling on the EPP leadership to recognise the undemocratic drift of Orbán’s government and to draw consequences in order to defend democracy in Hungary. The fact that they only reacted after Orbán attacked the European Commission President from his very own party does not undo the damage that has been done already.
“Tolerating Orbán for such a long time while he was weakening the independence of the Hungarian judiciary system or undermining media and academic freedom, has allowed for an Orbánisation of the EPP, which will be hard to reverse. The credibility of EPP as a reliable partner in the fight against right-wing populism has suffered considerably.
“We are also afraid that the changes that Fidesz’s government has undertaken for the last eight years reinforced Orbán’s autocratic rule and dismantled Hungarian democracy. I call on the Council to follow up urgently on the Parliament’s decision to launch an Article 7 procedure against the Hungarian government for breaching the rule of law.
“I also hope that today’s decision will enable the citizens to make the right choice in the May elections. Hungary is a great nation. The Hungarians should be treated according to the highest standards. This means Orbán government must be stopped from dismantling Hungarian democracy.”
István Ujhelyi MEP, head of the Hungarian delegation in the S&D Group added:
“Fidesz's suspension has been long overdue - however, it does not solve the issue at hand. Since Orbán came to power, he has been pursuing a politics of fear, hatred, and division. Now his own shadowy tactics caught up with him and he must face serious political repercussions. By steering Hungary away from European values and principles, he exposed himself for what he really is: an anti-European, illiberal autocrat, who is working tirelessly to dismantle the EU and at the same time please Vladimir Putin whose hybrid regime he considers exemplary.
“Fidesz's suspension is hardly a sustainable solution if we are to stop the spreading of populism in Europe. As long as Fidesz is not expulsed from the EPP, both the EU and the current biggest European party family will be hostage to the dirty political games of Orbán and his followers. Now that Hungary's governing party is suspended within its own party family, Hungarians must and will ask themselves: could Hungary's EU membership be in jeopardy as well?”