…before it became a reality, the Rome-Warsaw axis has a new friend. Meet Hungarian prime minister and the country’s strongman: Viktor Orbán.
Today at a press conference in Budapest, the country leader supported the Italian-Polish initiative to tame immigration into Europe. He was super happy about it. Orbán said “as for the Polish-Italian axis, the Warsaw-Rome axis, the fact that it was able to begin to create at all, it is one of the greatest news! Therefore I place my hope with this initiative”.
The Hungarian leader said he hoped for anti-immigration majority in the European elections, and following that, anti-immigration majority in the European Commission and the European Council.
Why it matters
What Mr Orbán says matters. First of all, his FIDESZ party is still a member of the EPP. An important member – if it was not the case, the party would have been thrown away long time ago.
Secondly, Jarosław Kaczyński awhile back said he wanted Budapest in Warsaw. The two leaders do not agree on everything, but on many things, they do. What divides them is Russia. What unites them is Brussels and migration – in short. For PiS to have Orbán’s blessing is an important signal: the PiS-La Lega deal chances for success just went up.
Thirdly, Orbán may or may not leave the EPP following European elections. For him to have a convenience to chose which large political family FIDESZ joins is a luxurious situation. Should he be able to convince the entire EPP to adopt more anti-immigration position, FIDESZ stays in the EPP. Leverage of Mr Orbán goes up with the scheduled departure of Angela Merkel.
Should EPP stick to its current position of managing migration rather than stopping it, it is likely FIDESZ might depart the largest political family to date and be embraced by a new coalition of like-minded MEPs.
It may well be that Orbán becomes the king maker after May 2019. Maybe this is why Mr Weber (the EPP leader in the EP and its Sptizenkandidat for the Commission Presidency) has been so accommodating with the Hungarian leader?