Hungary’s Orban, Weber to Discuss Party’s EPP Membership Tuesday

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Viktor Orban will meet with the European People’s Party’s Manfred Weber to discuss the viability of the Hungarian ruling party’s continued membership in the European Union’s largest political group.

Orban and Weber, who’s the group’s lead candidate in upcoming European Parliament elections, will meet in Budapest on Tuesday, government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said in an email. There’s no joint press briefing currently on the schedule.

Hungary’s Orban, Weber to Discuss Party’s EPP Membership Tuesday

Orban, who’s become a standard bearer for nationalists in Europe after building an illiberal state, acknowledged last week that his Fidesz party may forced to leave the center-right bloc, also known as the EU Christian Democrats, ahead of May’s elections. Weber has demanded that Orban end his anti-EU campaign and meet other conditions for Fidesz to remain in the mainstream group. The EPP is scheduled to discuss expelling Fidesz on March 20.

Orban has portrayed the dispute as being up to Fidesz to decide whether to remain or leave. He suggested that he could potentially announce a departure from the EU Christian Democrats before the meeting in Brussels. He also held talks over the weekend in Poland, whose ruling party PiS he regards as a partner in a potential new nationalist alliance should Fidesz need to leave the EPP.

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