The group of European Conservatives and Reformists will be strong in the next European Parliament according to the group’s Spitzenkandidat, Jan Zahradil. He said if Viktor Orbán decided to leave the European People’s Party, the ECR would welcome Hungary’s Fidesz party to the group.
We met Jan Zahradil, MEP of European Conservatives and Reformists in his office in the European Parliament last December, where we asked him about the future of the ECR group, which will lose its British MEPs from 2019.
“We can fullfil this gap of eighteen from our own sources”, Zahradil said.
With the Tories gone, the strongest party in the group will be the Polish PiS, while Jan Zahradil is the only Spitzenkandidat from Eastern Europe. The Czech MEP thinks that there is an East-West split in the EU, which emerges mostly in questions of attitude towards questions like migration. But he and the ECR won’t be a party of Eastern European interests, they try to find new partners also in the West.
“I can’t say more because there are delicate negotiations going on and before any deal is brokered it will be rather unfair to release it publicly” Zahradil told Azonnali. “We see things in motion, and we think we can benefit from it as well.”
He thinks there will be great shifts in the next European Parliament. As Hungary’s Fidesz place in European People’s Party became uncertain, we asked if ECR is looking for a Hungarian member party.
The Czech MEP doesn’t think that the deeds of Fidesz are that bad like it’s being described in the European Parliament or in European ‘liberal media’.
“I believe we can cope with that somehow”, Zahradil stated. He also mentioned Matteo Salvini’s Lega as a likely ally in the future.
We also asked him about Hungary’s Jobbik party, which is looking for a group in the next European Parliament. Márton Gyöngyösi, a likely candidate for the top place of Jobbik’s list told Azonnali before that the ECR can be the new family for Jobbik, which came from the far-right to the centre in the last few years, aspiring for a membership in EPP also.
The ECR’s Spitzenkandidat told Azonnali that one of the main differences between ECR and the eurosceptic parties in the European Parliament is that they are supporting atlanticism, while the German AfD or the French National Rally is more in favour of Russia.
He doesn’t think that Fidesz is tied to Russia as much as these parties.
The full interview can be read here in Hungarian.
PHOTO: Bence Pintér / Azonnali
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