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  The end of Germany’s Orbán affair
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ContributorIndyGeorgia 
Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Mar 04, 2019 06:52pm
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AuthorMatthew Karnitsching
News DateMonday, March 4, 2019 06:10:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionBERLIN — Manfred Weber was livid.

“He promised me he wouldn’t do it,” the Bavarian politician lamented to associates after Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán forced Central European University, an institution backed by billionaire George Soros, out of the country in early December.

For Weber, who had just secured the nomination as lead candidate for the European People’s Party in the upcoming European Parliament election, the move amounted to a betrayal.

In recent days, those tensions have led to a much deeper rift between the Hungarian leader and his German allies. The estrangement carries wide reverberations for Europe, setting the stage for a vote on whether to suspend or possibly even eject Orbán’s Fidesz party from the EPP, a step that could reshape the balance of power in the EU and isolate Hungary.

“This could lead to a realignment of the party forces in [European] Parliament,” said Milan Nič, an analyst with the German Council on Foreign Relations. “But instead of doing it after the elections, as most people predicted, they could be forced to act before the elections.”

The EPP is set to decide Fidesz’s fate at a meeting in Brussels on March 20. While a number of smaller members are pushing for Orbán’s ouster from the group, such a step is unlikely if the Germans don’t get on board.
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