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The European Conservatives and Reformists Group, which includes PiS and the Brothers of Italy party led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, may be stronger in the next European Parliament term. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz might join them. It is also possible that Marine Le Pen’s French National Rally (RN) will be among their ranks.

Fidesz has not been a member of any political group in the EP for over three years, having decided to leave the European People’s Party at the beginning of 2021.

Orban’s last years in the group saw gradually increasing political tensions with other factions due to actions by the Hungarian government, which led to a dispute with the European Commission over the rule of law. Brussels accused Budapest of violating the rule of law, initiated Article 7 treaty proceedings, and launched several infringement procedures that ended in complaints to the EU Court of Justice.

Before deciding to leave the EPP, Orban’s party was suspended as a member, and according to some commentators – if it had not resigned on its own, it would have been expelled.

Fidesz, however, did not join any other group in the EP, despite strong ties with the European Conservatives and Reformists.

“After leaving the EPP, Fidesz did not want to join any group due to the parliamentary elections in Hungary. It preferred to be politically independent. Then, the war in Ukraine broke out, and the issue of expanding the group took a back seat. The elections are an opportunity for new reshuffles,” a source in ECR told PAP.

Currently, Orban has 12 MEPs and is likely to get a similar number in the June elections. This could significantly strengthen the ECR faction, which currently has 69 MEPs.

Orban recently met in Brussels with former Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, previously expressing interest in joining.

“Although there are differences of opinion on some issues between PiS and Fidesz, our relations are good. We believe that the future of Fidesz is in the ECR. Certainly, ECR in the next EP term will be a faction that will be at least the third largest in terms of MEP numbers,” said PiS MEP Ryszard Czarnecki to PAP. (28.05.2024)