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Small Bulgarian EPP-affiliated party calls for Fidesz exclusion

Svetoslav Malinov [Dnevnik]

By Georgi Gotev

Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB), a small party affiliated to EPP, has sent a letter, asking for the expulsion of Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party from the centre-right European political family, the website ClubZ wrote on Monday (4 March).

DSB, one of the 4 Bulgarian EPP-affiliated forces, joins the ranks of some 10 national parties which have reportedly made this move in the recent few days.

As the climate between Budapest and Brussels reaches an all-time low, national parties affiliated to the EPP are rebelling against their European leadership and sending letters to EPP President Joseph Daul asking for Fidesz to be excluded.

Technically, the motion to expel Orbán’s Fidesz could be put on the agenda either by Daul himself, of by 7 national members representing at least 5 countries. Reportedly, this number was attained on Friday, and since a few other parties have joined.

On 20 March, the EPP will hold its political assembly. According to the official agenda, they will discuss the Spring European summit. However, the main issue is expected to be the motion to exclude Fidesz from the group.

ClubZ quotes from the DSB letter to Daul:

“Orbán has become a leader of a political trend, uniting populists and authoritarian nationalists from different European countries, directly aimed against Europe’s unity and common European policies.”

The move is not a surprise. Unlike the MEPs from Boyko Borissov’s GERB (by far the largest Bulgarian force affiliated to EPP), Svetoslav Malinov, the only MEP from DSB, voted last September for triggering Article 7 against Hungary.

Unlike GERB, Malinov supports Laura Codruța Kövesi for the post of first-ever European Chief Prosecutor. According to multiple sources, the Bulgarian ambassador to the EU has voted against Kövesi.

In a recent radio interview, Malinov expressed dismay that the centre-right government of Borissov plays ball with the ruling Romanian social-democrats in opposing Kövesi.

DSB will run for European elections in coalition under the name ‘Democratic Bulgaria”. According to polls, the maximum it could obtain is one MEP seat. Democratic Bulgaria has conducted primaries and elected as head of list for the elections Stefan Tafrov, a diplomat.

Regarding the future of Fidesz in EPP, observers generally agree that a lot depends on Germany’s CDU party position. Several national parties would align their positions with this force, led until recently by Angela Merkel. This should include GERB, although Borissov would find it hard to upset Orbán, the two being in friendly relations.

With the May European elections drawing closer, national parties fear the campaign could be contaminated by constant questions about Orbán’s affiliation to the European centre-right political family.

In the end, EPP member parties fear this could cost them dearly in terms of parliamentary seats.

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