Hungary’s prime minister said Monday that he thinks the main candidates for president of the European Union’s executive arm are unsuitable for the job.
Viktor Orban said that he won’t support Manfred Weber from the center-right European People’s Party to lead the European Commission because Weber insulted Hungary by saying he didn’t want its votes.
“A difficult series of negotiations await us after the elections to be able to choose the president of the Commission,” Orban said.
The European People’s Party is the biggest political group in the European Parliament. It recently suspended Orban’s Fidesz party over concerns about weakening democracy in Hungary.
Orban hosted a visiting Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache. Both said they want anti-migration forces to prevail in upcoming European Parliament elections.
Strache said Orban’s “new way of thinking … helped stop illegal migration” in Europe. Orban had fences built on Hungary’s southern borders in 2015 to keep out asylum-seekers.
Orban said the wanted the People’s Party to follow Austria’s example and cooperate with anti-immigration, euroskeptic, nationalist parties in Europe instead of with the left, which he described as “hopelessly, openly and clearly pro-immigration.”
“If in Austria the governing center-right party can cooperate with the patriotic right-wing party, then why can’t this happen at the European level too?” Orban said.
Orban added that while Fidesz had been invited to join the People’s Party by the late German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, he couldn’t imagine staying if “pro-migration forces are in the majority” in the group.
Last week, Orban was visited by Italy’s hard-line interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who is gathering a coalition of like-minded forces to challenge the hegemony in the European Parliament of the People’s Party and the Party of European Socialists.
Orban said, however, that even if invited, he wouldn’t attend a May 18 meeting in Milan where Salvini’s new coalition will hold a rally and would wait until after the elections before any possible move from the People’s Party.