The Hungarian ruling Fidesz party left the EPP group in the European Parliament today, after the group changed its rules in a way that would’ve made it easier to sanction entire groups.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban informed EPP group leader Manfred Weber that the 12 Fidesz MEPs are leaving the group. Orban announced this outcome on Monday, when the group began preparing the changes in its rules.
Fidesz faced hostility from some of the more centrist EPP members, as the party remained true to its conservative principles while some in the group moved to the left. It suspended its membership in the party in 2019, but remained in the Parliament group.
Fidesz is one of the biggest EPP parties, and one of the few that still hold power in an EU member state alone – without a German style grand coalition. This model extended to uniting the nominally conservative EPP and the nominally socialist PES parties in the European Parliament, and adding the liberal-democrats to boost the centrist majority that aims to leave actual conservative and socialist parties on the margins. EPP will continue to be the biggest party group in the Parliament but with 175 members out of 705 it is almost at half of the number it had 20 years ago.