EPP will ask Fidesz to scrap Lex CEU, but unlikely to kick them out of group

April 28, 2017

MTI Photo: Szecsõdi Balázs

Fidesz’s group in European Parliament, the European People’s Party (EPP), has confirmed that it will ask Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to comply with a European Commission request to amend Hungary’s recently modified law on higher education.

EPP spokesman Siegfried Muresant told Bruxinfo.hu that the center-right group will discuss the law, known as Lex CEU, with Orbán at a party meeting Saturday morning. The group will also reportedly discuss other Fidesz policies that have raised eyebrows in the European Union and within the EPP itself, including the Hungarian government’s “Let’s Stop Brussels” national consultation and campaign.

The European Commission sent a Letter of Formal Notice to Hungary on Wednesday, the first step in an EC infringement procedure against the country for the higher education law’s violation of EU rules. EPP President Manfred Weber reminded Orbán at a Wednesday EP debate on Hungary of the importance of academic and educational freedom.

Contrary to speculation that the EPP may be considering kicking Fidesz out of the group, most recent signs indicate no such action is expected. EPP spokesman Pedro Lopez de Pablo told EUobserver that “there is no objective reason” to remove Fidesz from the group since it votes with them 98 percent of the time. According to Lopez de Pablo, the EPP hopes Fidesz will comply with its requests and those of the EC after the Saturday meeting.