The European People’s Party (EPP) has lost its way on issues such as Christian conservatism, migration, and gender ideology, leading the party to give up up its core values, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a memorandum sent to the EPP just two days ahead of Thursday’s EU summit.
“Instead of stepping up against communism and Marxism, which left behind a painful legacy in Europe, we are applauding Fidel Castro and Karl Marx,” the three-page memorandum warned.
The full text was shared on Twitter by Katalin Novák, vice-president of Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party.
In the memo, Orbán took the EPP to task, pointing out that it has embraced a number of left-wing concepts over the years, including gender ideology and pro-migration stances.
“We gave up the family model based on matrimony of one woman and one man, and fell into the arms of gender ideology. Instead of supporting the birth of children, we see mass migration as the solution to our demographic problem,” Orbán wrote.
Orbán said in order to find a way forward, the party should conduct an honest and thorough introspection.
“We don’t stand up for ourselves as old and great Europeans, and don’t take on the fight against left-liberal intellectual forces and the media they influence and control,” Orbán continued.
Orbán stressed that the party needs to make a move back towards its Christian democratic and conservative roots, and in the process, serve as an example for the new nations the EU should bring into its family of members states.
The European People’s Party is losing its influence and values
“We indolently tolerate the disintegration of the Schengen Area and helplessly view the failure to involve the countries of the Balkans into the integration of Europe,” Orbán wrote, pointing out that the EPP’s gradual departure from its traditional Christian values or – as he put it – “sliding from the Christian right-wing to the left” has led to a major erosion of the party’s influence both in individual EU member states and the Union as a whole.
He pointed out that the EPP’s current direct has cost the party dearly, writing that “in 2011 we had 16 heads of government in the 27 countries of the Union and 271 members in the European Parliament. (…) Today we have only nine prime ministers, we have 187 seats in the European Parliament and only few of our members can govern without a coalition partner.”
To underline his point, he pointed out that his party, Fidesz, has been ruling Hungary with a solid two-thirds majority since 2010, having had won three consecutive legislative elections.
After the searing analysis of the EPP’s present status, Orbán concluded that “In this situation, an internal debate on the future mission of the EPP is inevitable.”
He also remarked that the 2019 EPP Congress in Zagreb, Croatia failed to address the issues plaguing the party and “we elected a president who brought Polish domestic conflicts and interests into the EPP,” referring to how the EPP congress voted Donald Tusk in as the new president of the EPP with a 93 percent majority.
A new Christian and conservative way forward
In view of the above, Orbán suggested that the EPP’s member parties should consider altering the party’s guidelines in an open and honest debate, even offering an alternative:
“We recommend returning to the heritage of [Wilfried] Martens,” Orbán wrote, pointing to the that Flemish politician Wilfried Martens (1936-2013) who helped spearhead a broader conservative alliance in the European Union, which allowed the EPP to overtake the previously stronger socialists in the European Parliament.
The memorandum also recommended that the EPP support its member parties in cooperating and building coalitions not only with the left, but also with the right-wing in their countries, he wrote, adding that besides centrist forces, representatives of the Christian right-wing should also be given a seat at the table.
“Unity is the most important thing, but in our situation today, unity, a new unity, can only be achieved through honest internal debates,” he concluded.
Title image: PM Viktor Orbán. Photo by Balázs Szecsődi/PM’s Press Office