Although the rift between Fidesz and the European People’s Party (EPP) was apparently due to a technical matter (the amendment of the People’s Party’s statutes), the political and ideological differences between Fidesz and the European People’s Party caused a chasm that eventually became insurmountable, political analyst Attila Kovács writes in daily Magyar Hírlap.
In terms of worldview and questions of principle, it can be seen that the People’s Party has turned away from the values it originally represented. In recent years, we have seen the EPP leave behind the values laid down by Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl as cornerstones, such as the importance of national sovereignty, Christianity and the family.
On the issue of the nation-state versus federalism, a significant portion of the EPP sided with federal aspirations from the outset. However, the main facet of this view was the economy, as many people in the People’s Party were of the opinion that joint action on certain economic issues promised greater efficiency.
In contrast, on the issue of Christian-conservative core values, the goal was to maintain subsidiarity and decision-making within national frameworks. The People’s Party was convinced that only strong nation-states could be the engines of a well-functioning European project.
From here, the People’s Party has, over the course of a good decade, reached the point where it has now become an active supporter of the left-wing aspiration to federalize ideological issues as well. It thus came into direct conflict with the classic values previously represented by the EPP, according to which the traditions, culture, fundamental principles of the constitutional system, and history of each member state should play a vital role.
The issue of migration played a central role in the People’s Party’s shift to the left. More than ten years before the migration crisis, in 2004, the People’s Party took the view that “Europe cannot, of course, solve the global challenges of forced migration by admitting even more people”. However, the People’s Party’s 2020 program already prioritizes legal migration as a desirable response to an aging European society. This is fully in line with the European left’s concept of a multicultural society and a rejection of family-centered politics.
The u-turn of the People’s Party in the field of family policy and family law is well illustrated by the fact that it gave up its position that the principle of subsidiarity in the field of family law should be left to the member states. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is already proposing a uniform definition of the family in the EU, which the EPP seems to support.
Finally, it is worth addressing the European People’s Party’s relationship with Christian values and Christian Democracy. The political program of the People’s Party, adopted in 1978, states that the policy of the party family is based on a Christian image of the people. The 2006 Rome Manifesto states that Judeo-Christian roots form the ideological and political foundations of the People’s Party.
However, the party principles adopted at the 2012 EPP Congress in Bucharest recognizes Islam as part of European diversity in addition to Judeo-Christian culture. According to the People’s Party program, which dates from three years later (2015), the EPP’s self-determination was no longer exclusively that of a Christian Democrat but also a centrist, moderate party. The People’s Party’s draft concept for the future of Europe, which was launched in 2020, defines the People’s Party not only as a Christian-democratic, conservative but also as a downright liberal political force.
One of the foundations of the European People’s Party, laid down in 1992 and reaffirmed in 2012, is that “if the European People’s Party rejects, forgets, neglects, or dilutes its own values, without soul or future, whilst also forfeiting the universal and original nature of its message”. The prophecy seems to be fulfilled: the People’s Party has turned away from its own values, its political future on the conservative-Christian democratic side is no longer being realized.
And Fidesz had no future in the People’s Party.