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Hungary PM apologises for 'useful idiots' remark

AFP  |  Budapest 

Hungarian Viktor has apologised to European for calling them "useful idiots" over an anti-EU billboard campaign that could see his party ejected from the European Parliament's dominant centre-right EPP bloc.

"(Orban) has sent a letter of apology to the (EPP)," a told AFP Thursday.

In a newspaper interview earlier this month, called critics within "useful idiots" and accused them of helping the group's leftwing and liberal opponents ahead of European in May.

"I would hereby like to express my apologies, if you found my quote personally offensive," said in his letter to the Belgian & Flemish (CD&V) party which was published by newspaper.

The letters were sent Wednesday to leaders of 13 member parties of who have proposed expelling Orban's ruling party from the bloc, Orban's told Hungarian newswire

In the letter, Orban asked party leaders to "reconsider your proposal for expulsion".

While "do not wish to change our own position... on the issue of migration, the protection of Christian culture and the future of Europe", disagreements should not be solved by expelling a party "from our political family", he said.

The controversial billboard campaign accuses and liberal US billionaire George Soros, a bete-noir of Orban's, of plotting to flood with migrants.

Similar messages have appeared on television and while Orban has also sent letters to households nationwide that attack Juncker.

Juncker did not receive a letter of apology from Orban, according to He said Juncker stood firm in his position that EPP members must respect the group's "basic values".

A decision on the future membership of will be on the agenda at an EPP meeting on March 20, according to Manfred Weber, the bloc's leading candidate to replace Juncker later in the year.

Weber met Orban in on Tuesday and called for the populist leader to apologise for the campaign.

"We had talks in a constructive atmosphere but problems are not yet solved," Weber told reporters.

Weber has demanded that Orban meet three conditions for Fidesz to remain in the EPP, the anti-EU campaign, and apologising to EPP member parties.

The anti-Juncker campaign had "created a burden and damage to the EPP," Weber said last week.

Weber also wants Orban to let the CEU university founded by Soros stay in

The government said it would stop the anti-EU campaign by Friday but the messages were still visible Thursday in newspapers and on internet sites.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 14 2019. 20:20 IST
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