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Fidesz rules out joining ECR due to Romanian Nationalists

State of the Union: Debacle highlights issues with trying to create a nationalist internationale.
Orban with Meloni
Credit: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Hungary’s ruling conservative Fidesz party has dropped its bid to join the national-conservative Europe of Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament over the entry into the group of the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR), a nationalist party in neighboring Romania. According to Fidesz, they could not be a part of the same political grouping as AUR due to the AUR’s “extreme anti-Hungarian stance.”

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The move comes after months of talks between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and his Italian counterpart, Giorgia Meloni, who herself is the head of the ECR-affiliated Brothers of Italy Party. Orban had sought to bring Fidesz into the ECR after it left the centrist European Peoples’ Party (EPP). 

The AUR, which won 6 out of the 33 Romanian seats in the European Parliament elections (its first, as the party was only founded in 2020), is led by George Simion, an “ultra-fan” of Romania’s soccer teams and a strong proponent of the unification of Romania with Moldova. In 2019, Simion took part in a brawl where Romanian nationalists rioted in a Hungarian military cemetery in Uz Volgye, attacking ethnic Hungarians with flagpoles and tearing down Hungarian crosses.

Despite Fidesz’s decision not to join, the ECR has grown significantly this year. The group had grown from holding 62 seats to 83 through the European Parliament elections earlier this month. Prior to the European elections, Orban had endorsed a merger of the ECR and the similar Identity and Democracy (ID) group, led by France’s Marine LePen, arguing that “the sovereigntist future of Europe” is “in the hands of two women [Meloni and LePen].” 

A combined right-sovereignist group would contain 141 members from the ECR and ID groups.