Hungarian party rejects European conservatives’ conditions

March 6, 2019
FILE - In this Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019 file photo, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers his annual "State of Hungary" speech in Budapest, Hungary. The inscription reads: "For us Hungary is the first!" Hungary’s populist prime minister says calls for his party’s expulsion from a European Parliament group serve left-wing rivals. The debate in the European People’s Party follows a Hungarian government ad campaign against migration. (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP, File )

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The party of Hungary’s prime minister says it “cannot yield” to conditions set for it to remain in the main center-right group in the European Parliament.

Balazs Hidveghi, communications director of Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party, said Wednesday that “the defense of European Christian values and stopping migration is more important than party discipline.”

The European People’s Party is set to discuss Fidesz’s membership at a meeting on March 20 amid the Orban government’s campaign against EU leaders.

Several smaller parties within the EPP are calling for Fidesz’s ouster after years of conflict over the rule of law, democratic EU values and mass immigration.

Manfred Weber, the EPP candidate to succeed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said that, among other conditions, Orban should stop the anti-Brussels campaign and apologize.

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