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Hungary's Orban announces plan to form new far-right bloc in European Parliament

Hungary's Orban announces plan to form new far-right bloc in European Parliament
Copyright Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews
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Orban launched the "Patriots for Europe" on Sunday, an alliance with Herbert Kickl, the leader of Austria's far-right Freedom party, and Andrej Babiš, the former prime minister of Czechia.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Sunday presented a new alliance with Austria's far-right Freedom Party and the main Czech opposition party, which hopes to attract other partners and become the biggest hard right-wing group in the European Parliament.

Orbán travelled to Vienna to present the “Patriots for Europe” alliance of his Fidesz party with Herbert Kickl's far-right Freedom Party and the former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis's ANO party, a day before Hungary takes over the European Union’s rotating presidency for six months.

The European Parliament elections in early June strengthened far-right parties, though their performances varied from country to country, but left unclear to what extent they would manage to work together. Until now, they have been spread across two groups in the EU legislature, plus a large number of unaligned parties.

Orbán in recent years has appeared to relish opportunities to block, water down or delay key EU decisions, routinely going against the grain of most other leaders on issues like the war in Ukraine relations with Russia and China. His public opposition to EU policies and stances has long frustrated other governments in the bloc and pushed him to the margins of the continent’s mainstream.

“What Europeans want is three things: peace, order and development,” Orbán said through an interpreter at Sunday's event. “And what they are getting from the elite in Brussels today is war, migration and stagnation.”

Orban also posted about the launch on X. "Three political parties joined forces today: the strongest Austrian party, the strongest Czech party and the strongest Hungarian party. Our aim is to become the strongest right-wing group in European politics," it read.

But the three partiers will need to attract lawmakers from at least four more EU countries to successfully form a group in the new parliament.

Freedom Party leader Herbert Kickl noted that the new European Parliament will meet for the first time in Strasbourg on July 16. He said that “starting immediately ... all political forces that want to join in our political and positive reform effort are very welcome."

Kickl added that “from what I have heard in recent days ... there will be more of them than some of you probably suspect right now.” He didn't name any potential partners, and the three party leaders didn't take questions.

The Freedom Party narrowly won first place in the European Parliament election and hopes to win Austria's national election on Sept. 29.

All three parties are pro-Russian; none of them support Ukraine in its fight against Russia which launched a full-scale invasion in 2022.

"We will prefer national sovereignty to federalism, liberty to orders, and peace to war," Babis posted on X, referring to the war in Ukraine.

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