Rumors are swirling that the Council of the Wise of the European People’s Party (EPP) is preparing a written report that could decide the future of Fidesz’s membership in the European Parliament political group, but EPP President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday that no report has been drafted and discussions remain ongoing.
Last March Fidesz voluntarily suspended its membership in the EPP after Fidesz questioned the party’s political direction, saying it is abandoning conservative values for liberal ones. The EPP party also voted against Fidesz in the European Parliament, with a majority of the EPP passing a resolution condemning rule of law in Hungary.
The report of the so-called “Council of the Wise” has been seen as crucial with regard to the future group membership of Fidesz. The council consists of Belgian Herman Van Rompuy, Austrian Wolfgang Schüssel and German Hans-Gert Pöttering.
Sources said that at Wednesday’s EPP meeting, Tusk told the gathering that there is no written report as there have only been verbal consultations. Liberal media outlets had reported earlier that the report was supposedly already on Tusk’s desk.
Half-jokingly, Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch – borrowing a trope from a 1970s U.S. TV show – told journalists earlier on Wednesday tha “the report is like Columbo’s wife: Everybody talks about her, but nobody has actually seen her.”
It also transpired that at its general assembly, the EPP will next week begin discussions about the group’s political direction, something Fidesz has been urging for some time. The Hungarian conservative party has repeatedly said that for some time now the EPP has been veering to the left, gradually abandoning traditional conservative and Christian values.
According to Hungarian conservative daily Magyar Nemzet’s sources, the issue of Fidesz’s EPP membership will not feature on next week’s agenda.
Title image: EPP President Donal Tusk (L) and Herman van Rompuy. (MTI/EPA/Olivier Hoslet)