The rumor mill is simmering. Will there be a restructuring of the conservative forces in the European Parliament after Viktor Orban’s exit from the European People’s Party? The news of intensive conversations between Orbán, Jaroslaw Kaczyński and Matteo Salvini is already mounting. Will these three, together with their respective parties, form the core of a new EU parliamentary group – and possibly ignore many anti-European populists on the left (or right)?
It is still too early to make predictions, but one thing is already becoming clear: the rift between the populist national liberals and the conservative western patriots (a term that unfortunately hardly refers to the EPP any more) is widening. It is above all to the credit of the East Central European countries that they have mastered the sometimes difficult balancing act between defense of the West and criticism of the EU. You have successfully demonstrated that value conservatism and nationalism are not necessarily synonyms and that one can stand by one’s own Christian traditions, be proud of one’s national past and still support close cooperation between the European peoples.
This message is increasingly being heard in the rest of Europe and also shared by the Spanish Vox or the Salvinis Lega, which are gradually alienating themselves from their Eurosceptic partners in the EP Group Identity and Democracy (ID). Even Marine Le Pen understands by now that her demand for a “Frexit” – no matter how much this may have been factually or psychologically understandable – cost her the presidential election and has no future prospects. Shouldn’t it be possible to solve the difficult question of whether the European conservatives lean towards the West or the East in terms of a Europe first doctrine? Especially for those Europeans who had to live under Russian occupation for half a century, this is the central question
But there is a sensitive gap in the middle of this possible alliance. In the middle of the negotiations between Italy, Hungary and Poland, the news of the decision of the AfD to include the demand for a »Dexit« in its election manifesto and to replace the EU with a loose economic alliance at best burst. Regarding this wrong strategic and political decision, let me just say that in other parts of Europe, especially in the East, it is the at best ambivalent impression that the AfD makes with its internal disputes, its often dubious historical-political rhetoric and its value-liberal rather than value-conservative orientation , has improved by no means. Especially today, when the conference on the future of Europe should join forces,