EU conservatives rush to court Orban. Visegrad Group EU debates

The months-long courtship of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz MEPs – who are without membership in the European Parliament after leaving the European People’s Party (EPP) – entered a new stage on Wednesday during a dinner between Orbán and the president of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group and leader of the national-conservative Brothers of Italy party, Giorgia Meloni. #eudebates #Pride #LGBTI #GlobalPride Before the dinner with Orbán, Meloni – who is on a tour of European institutions ahead of the EU Council summit on Thursday and Friday – met with European Parliament President David Sassoli and Economic Affairs Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni. Later she was set to meet Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Slovenia PM Janez Janša, whose views seem to align with Meloni’s despite his party, the Slovenian Democrats (SDS), being part of the conservative EPP. Her moves can be seen as an attempt to defuse the attempts of far-right leader Matteo Salvini (Lega)to start a new group in the European Parliament together with Orbàn and Morawiecki. Salvini met with the two Visegrad leaders to discuss the project in Budapest in April. If Fidesz would apply for ECR group membership, Meloni said she would be “happy to evaluate the request together with the other members of the group and the party.” For now, Orbán’s party “did not apply to join the ECR”, but “clearly we are interested in expanding the family,” she added. According to Meloni, ECR’s project is “extremely attractive”, both for Fidesz that “come froms the EPP and are tired of an approach that is too prone to the left, and “for those from our right who want to get out of an option marginality.” This is a job that only ECR can do, Meloni explained before announcing the entry into the group of two new MEPs, Giuseppe Milazzo and Lars Patrick Berg, who just left the EPP. Orbán and Meloni reportedly also discussed the controversial Hungarian LGBTQI+ law which the European Commission and more than half of the member states have already condemned. On Italy’s draft law to combat homophobia currently under discussion in parliament which the Vatican protested against, Meloni asked Prime Minister Draghi to report to the MPs, saying that “the parliamentary procedure of the law be must be temporarily suspended until this controversy is resolved.” “I think that these are matters on which the parliaments of the national states have every right to legislate. Then there are the issues, such as that of the relationship between the Italian state and the Holy See, which do not concern the issue of the interference but concern the relationship between two states that have an agreement”, and in this case “one of those two sovereign authorities has declared that that agreement is in danger of being violated,” Meloni added.