Twelve parties – members of the European People’s Party – initiated a procedure to expel the Hungarian Fidesz party from the pan-European conservative group.

EPP party leader Joseph Daul announced that the proposal will be reviewed on March 20th. Some EPP leaders have been turning against Fidesz and its leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who maintains that the EPP has moved too far to the center. Orban is critical of the open borders policy espoused by the most powerful national EPP leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and recently he blamed the European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, of refusing to reveal the extent of the migration policies the Commission is pushing on EU member states.

The request to expel Fidesz comes just before the upcoming European Parliament elections, where the EPP stands to lose a good portion of its seats but hopes that it will remain the largest group in the European Parliament due to the collapse of its main centrist rival, the social-democratic PES group. Fidesz is one of the strongest national parties in the EPP, and Hungary is the largest EU country led by an EPP party, without the need of a coalition.

This soured relations between the EPP and the party’s nominee for the next Commission President Manfred Weber as well. Some in the EPP were pressured by European media outlets to ostracize Orban over his request that the George Soros led CEU university based in Budapest stops issuing American certified diplomas until it opens an American campus. The university has served as recruiting grounds for leftists politicians in the region and across Europe, and Orban has called out Soros over his promotion of left wing and open borders policies.