The victory of nationalists in the EP elections is more likely than surveys suggest. Salvini and Orbán are the main determinants of the agenda. The only other determinant of the agenda is French President Emmanuel Macron. They are now true rivals in European politics, and it is not clear who is going to win.
Orbán’s Fidesz is part of the faction of the European People’s Party (EPP), Salvini is part of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), a member of which is, of course, the French extremist politician Marine Le Pen. Salvini, who wants to enforce migrant redistribution quotas, has a single common goal with his otherwise opponent Orbán – to demonstrate that the EU is failing to deal with the migration crisis.
Part of the EPP wants to get rid of Orbán, but without much hope of success. They cannot afford to lose him. EPP will lose many seats next year in the European Parliament elections, but the Orbán MEP’s contingent will remain as strong as it is now.
The advantage of the nationalists in the European Parliament is also that they have no common positive agenda, so they are not jealous of each other. Moreover, despite what appears on the surface, Angela Merkel is de facto a political opponent of French President Emmanuel Macron, especially when Merkel has practically rejected all of Macron’s proposed Eurozone reforms.