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Hungary’s Viktor Orbán quits European Parliament group over ‘LGBTQ lunacy’

Emma Powys Maurice March 5, 2021
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EU may sanction Hungary for law banning 'promotion' of LGBT rights

The prime minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán has launched salvos after salvos against the LGBT+ community. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)

Viktor Orban has set out to build his own political force across the EU after quitting the European People Party faction over what he calls “LGBTQ lunacy”.

The far-right Hungarian prime minister announced on Wednesday (3 March) that he was pulling his Fidesz party from the conservative bloc, which was preparing to vote on expelling him from the group.

Orban made it clear he wouldn’t stick around long enough to be kicked out, and boasted that he’d build his own alliance to rival the EPP.

“Our task is clear,” he said in a statement. “Now – without the EPP – we must build a European democratic right that offers a home to European citizens who do not want migrants, who do not want multiculturalism, who have not descended into LGBTQ lunacy, who defend Europe’s Christian traditions, who respect the sovereignty of nations, and who see their nations not as part of their past, but as part of their future.”

The European People’s Party has been the longtime home of Fidesz and had provided Viktor Orban with crucial links, legitimacy and votes in the European Parliament.

But relations have grown increasingly tense in recent years as Hungary’s ruling party slides further to the authoritarian right in its attacks on the LGBT+ community.

This made it all the more humiliating for Orban when his MEP and top anti-LGBT+ ally Jozsef Szajer was recently forced to resign after being caught at a gay sex party.

The protracted scandal left Fidesz with only 12 MEPs in the EPP. All had technically been suspended from the alliance since 2019 due to their shockingly illiberal policies, but their exclusion was about to be made permanent following an intra-party vote on suspending errant members.

The move signalled the widening gulf between the Hungarian leader and the EU’s mainstream, and Orban saw it as an outright attack.

He lashed out at the rule changes on Tuesday (2 March), describing them as “clearly a hostile move against Fidesz and our voters”.

“Limiting our MEPs’ ability to carry out their duties as elected Members of the European Parliament deprives Hungarian voters from their democratic rights,” he told EPP chairman Manfred Weber.

Yet despite his bluster and bravado, EPP sources told EURACTIV that Viktor Orban still hasn’t given formal notification of his intent to leave – so for the time being it looks like Fidesz will keep clinging on until it can find a better option.

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