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Brussels unity shatters: EU's biggest party faces boycott as Orban accused of 'blackmail'

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Mr Orban is in the midst of a clash with MEPs within the European People’s Party – the largest group in Parliament. The Hungarian prime minister has threatened to remove his MEPs from the group amid a change in the influential group’s structure. In response to his threat, Austrian MEP Othmar Karas said: “We will not allow Orbán to blackmail us.”

While the EU attempts to restore its failing vaccine programme, Hungary’s Fidesz party has accused some members of causing internal issues at a time when coronavirus should be the centre of attention, Politico reported.

In line with her Prime Minister, vice-President of the Fidesz party, Katalin Novak, criticised the decision.

She said: “It’s unacceptable that while Europe is fighting to save lives and our main prior is to protect our citizens, some in the EPP are busy trying to exclude Fidesz from EPP Group.”

MEPs within the EPP want to create legislation which allows them to remove a group from the party rather than just one MEP.

The Fidesz party and its 12 MEPs had been suspended from the group.

In light of the change to the group’s structure, Mr Orban had threatened to remove his MEPs rather than wait to hear the group’s final decision on the matter.

He wrote in a letter to the group: “I want to inform you, Mr Chairman, that if the provisions accepted at the meeting of the Presidency and of Head of national delegations on February 26 are put to a vote and adopted, Fidesz will leave the Group.”

Mr Orban has been a constant thorn in the EU’s side, often criticising the bloc’s decisions.

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“Was it worth it?”

With so many EU states struggling to implement their vaccination programmes, Mr Orban has broken ranks to approve the Chinese and Russian vaccines.

Neither vaccine has been approved by EU regulatory bodies.

Hungary began the rollout of the Sinopharm vaccine last week and Mr Orban claimed the EU is failing to protect its citizens.

He added: “We shall exercise our national powers, and provide for ourselves.”

“Brussels is following its own logic.

“They don’t have a strong enough sense of the importance of speed, so they’re slow in issuing permits and have no power over suppliers.”



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