A wise man does not take offense when he is offended, but only when it serves him.”
Tamás Deutsch, the head of the Fidesz-KDNP delegation to the European Parliament, used this saying several times in connection with the trial he faced last week from the European People’s Party (EPP). With its attempt to disenfranchise an experienced member of the party, the EPP is hurting itself. As stated by Daniel Caspary, the head of the German Christian Democrat (CDU) delegation, an important factor was that Fidesz party members are working constructively in both the group and the commissions.
Going back to Deutsch’s so-called insult, it was not even the insult of faction leader Manfred Weber that triggered the entire affair, but the Austrian Othmar Karas was the one who took the trouble to be offended instead. Karas, an old hand in the People’s Party, has been resolutely attacking the Hungarian government for many years, especially since the migration crisis.
Karas is destroying the Hungarian-Austrian relationship without any particular shame. He does at least as much damage in this respect as the already failed Social Democratic Chancellor, Werner Faymann, who called the Hungarian government Nazis at the height of the migration crisis and referred to the Holocaust in connection with trains transporting illegal migrants to centers, faced little consequence for such remarks.
Needless to say, those who are now hysterical about Deutsch’s remark were in deep silence then. In fact, they were competing with one another for insulting the Hungarian government for honoring its obligations and protecting the Union’s external borders.
The European People’s Party has a loud minority that erodes the party family from within. They have long been non-Christian Democrats or Conservatives, constantly seeking the grace of their left-wing opponents, dissolving the party family that has seen better days.
They are robbing the once unquestionably Christian Democratic, conservative party family of its identity and making it into a shapeless formation. Moreover, the party’s family and community character is killed by constant internal struggles and mockery. Let us not forget that the political and ideological distance between the liberal Finnish member of the party and Fidesz is the same from both directions, yet it is not the Hungarian party that would exclude the other.
In a “people’s party”, many opinions can — or at least should be — accommodated if there was mutual respect and cohesion. However, the leadership of the party family is not seeking reconciliation, but is actually always on the side of the aggressors, stopping just short of giving them everything they want. In the end, no one is satisfied, and those who demand the exclusion of Fidesz never rest. They take every action they can to achieve their goal, and they do not shy away from lying or defamation to achieve their ends.
However, ideological disagreement is not the only reason for the current tension. The Polish Civic Platform, which also gave the EPP President Donald Tusk, is openly advocating against Fidesz. This is not only an ideological difference, but a very tangible domestic political interest, as the ally of the Hungarian government is the Polish governing party, the national-conservative Law and Justice party, which beat the Civic Platform in several elections.
Tusk has so far completely subordinated the People’s Party to the Polish domestic political struggle, and of course the Polish-Hungarian victory in the budget debate was just oil in the fire for the bitter losers.
No matter how aggressive the likes of Karas are, the obvious fact is that, contrary to their claims, the silent majority of the People’s Party is not on their side. If that were the case, Tusk would have long ago called for a vote on Fidesz’s membership. But he doesn’t dare.
Hungarians have allies and influence in the People’s Party. It is time for these allies to stand on the right side in the struggle for the future and soul of the party family.