Hungary's Orban forms new EU parliament group ahead of rotating presidency

Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Sunday announced the formation of a new EU parliamentary alliance with Austria's far-right party and the Czech centrist group of ex-premier Andrej Babis. This comes on the eve of Hungary taking over the rotating presidency of the EU.

Orban has long railed against the "Brussels elites", most recently accusing Brussels of fuelling the war in Ukraine.

Hungary has vowed to use its EU presidency – which begins on Monday – to push for its "vision of Europe" under the motto "Make Europe Great Again" – echoing the rallying cry of Orban ally former US president Donald Trump.

"A new era begins here, and the first, perhaps decisive moment of this new era is the creation of a new European political faction that will change European politics," Orban told reporters in Vienna at a joint press conference with Austria's Freedom Party (FPOe) leader Herbert Kickl and Czech ANO party leader Babis.

Vowing to bring a "new era", the three men signed what they termed a patriotic manifesto, promising "peace, security and development" instead of "war, migration and stagnation".

The new alliance, "Patriots for Europe", will need support from parties from at least four other countries to be recognised as a group in the EU parliament.

It is not yet clear who would join them.

The party's MEPs had already been excluded from the ID group in the run up to EU elections in early June after its lead candidate Maximilian Krah was embroiled in a series of scandals, including suspicious links to Russia and China.

(with AFP)

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