Orbán’s and Morawiecki’s comments have “forced us to evaluate our options, among them how to secure that ECR remains an Atlanticist and Putin-critical group, as well as what other options exist for conservative parties who are in a governing position,” Weimers said. The far-right Sweden Democrats are propping up the Swedish government in a confidence and supply deal.
There are 12 MEPs from Fidesz in the European Parliament, but they are not attached to any political family, having left the center-right EPP group in 2021 in a rule-of-law showdown.
According to POLITICO’s Poll of Polls, even without taking in Fidesz, ECR could become the third largest grouping in the European Parliament after the June election, giving it more sway to impact votes and mop up influential positions, while putting pressure on the European Commission. However, a splintering of the group would hinder those chances.
“In the Nordics the image of Hungary on the right has been seriously damaged by the choices made since the full-scale Russian invasion began, including the unwillingness to ratify Sweden’s NATO application,” Weimers added.
“It’s possible [that Orbán joins] but definitely his party has to change [its] position on Russia’s Ukraine aggression,” said Latvian MEP Roberts Zīle, a top figure in the ECR, and a Parliament vice-president.
Meloni’s MEPs have sounded somewhat cautious, saying that any decision will only come after the June election. EU lawmaker Carlo Fidanza said that the next step is for Orbán to green light Sweden’s bid to join NATO.
“We don’t want to lose anyone, we want to make ECR bigger without losing our coherence and losing our members, this is the challenge and Meloni is capable to win this challenge,” he said.