2021. 01. 19.
MEP Kinga Gál was elected the president of the Hungarian delegation to the EPP Group. She gave an interview to Magyar Nemzet about the relationship between Fidesz and EPP, and the challenges ahead. Transcript below.
You were elected president of the Fidesz-KDNP delegation to the European Parliament this week. What are the tasks of the assignment?
The Hungarian delegation to the European People’s Party Group has two leaders: the head of the delegation and the president. It is a great honour that my fellow Members have elected me to serve as president of the Hungarian EPP delegation. My task will be to assist Tamás Deutsch, Head of Delegation, in his day-to-day work and to strengthen the work of our delegation both in the EPP Group and in the European Parliament.
Your have been a Member of the European Parliament since 2004, a former Vice-President of the European People’s Party. Was it a clear decision for the delegation to invite you to chair?
I am indeed one of the longest-serving Fidesz MEPs, having been a member for more than sixteen years. Our delegation has always made sure that the presidency be also a senior position, as this is accompanied by familiarity and acceptance in practice.
And during all these years, I have had the opportunity to fight countless battles in the ranks of the EPP Group and the European Parliament.
Of course, my position as vice-president in the European People’s Party was also an important aspect which was taken into consideration when the decision to nominate me was taken, as I had previously held a serious position in the party family.
According to recent news, the EPP Group is working to create the legal possibility of excluding an entire national delegation. Will Fidesz-KDNP take this personnally?
Some may think that this initiative will teach Fidesz-KDNP a lesson, but I am convinced that in the long run it will weaken the European People’s Party much more. This is because the European People’s Party should be a center-right, broad-based, embracing a multitude of political shades, that is truly a people’s party. However, if it excludes member parties with views different from the mainstream, it will be difficult to identify itself as the strongest European party and Group in the European Parliament.
The fact that the members of the Group learned about the possible amendment of the rules from the Politico news portal also raises some questions regarding the method chosen to address the issue. This is also good indication of the problems we are struggling with in our political group. I am sure that the silent majority of the EPP does not view such developments with content.
Recently, politicians of the EPP Group stated that it is good to work with Hungarian MEPs like yourself who are outstanding professionals, and that the Group must wait for the umbrella party’s decision on Fidesz. What has changed?
I attribute this largely to the growing opposition of the Polish delegation to Fidesz, motivated by domestic political considerations. They are vehemently joined by representatives of the northern and Benelux member parties, which have little political weight. Part of the problem is that Donald Tusk, the Polish president of the party family, is also fanning the flames. I can only hope that, in the end, common sense will prevail. I have really known the European People’s Party for a very long time, as well as the workings of the EPP Group, so I can say with certainty: it cannot be in the interest of the EPP to apply the so-called “salami tactic” to itself. They need to be aware that today it may be about us but tomorrow the left may target any other EPP party. It is politically naive not to take that into account.
The Fidesz-KDNP delegation held an inaugural meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán this week. What was the mood like in the conversation?
We had a very good, open conversation with the Prime Minister. I feel like we’ve all been given the strength to embark on a year that will not be an easy one, but in fact a very challenging one.
Are you referring to the possibility that the upcoming Hungarian election campaign could be partly taking place in Brussels?
We have to reckon with the fact that already this year there will be a number of events in European capitals that could have a significant impact on the atmosphere in Brussels. For example the presidential elections of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) taking place this weekend and the federal elections in Germany in autumn.
And in Hungary, the campaign ahead of the 2022 parliamentary elections will begin, but we will still be holding the line in Brussels. I believe that despite the multitude of attacks directed at us from the international media, the truth is on our side, our arguments are valid, like for example in case of the migration debate.
The goal of our delegation remains the effective representation of the interests of Hungarian voters in the European Parliament. This is a noble fight that is worth fighting if we want to keep our society the way we know and love it.
Image: Magyar Hírlap