Europe's centre-right party votes to suspend Hungarian nationalists from parliament

Hungary Orban: Europe's centre-right EPP suspends Fidesz

"The suspension entails: no attendance at any party meeting; no voting rights; no right to propose candidates for posts", EPP president Joseph Daul said in a tweet.

Europe's most important political family penalized Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Wednesday over concerns that he is leading his nation down an undemocratic path, suspending his party's membership until further notice.

It will be led by former EU council president Herman Van Rompuy, and include former European Parliament president Hans-Gert Pottering and former Austrian prime minister Wolfgang Schussel.

The European People's People party voted on Wednesday to suspend membership for Hungary's ruling Fidesz party.

Graessle said Orban, who had led Fidesz practically unchallenged since the early 1990s, "has to show credibly that he will change".

The campaign has since been dropped and Orban has apologized for insulting partners from the EPP - the mainstream conservative group of MEPs - though the party leadership had warned this was not enough.

"We remain committed to European values, but we also don't want migration", Orban said at a nonconfrontational news conference after the decision in which he appeared to seek to defuse the situation while conceding little.

Before the vote, Fidesz officials had threatened to pull out of the EPP if it was suspended.

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Fidesz angered the EPP by distributing posters of European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker depicted as a puppet manipulated by billionaire George Soros into backing uncontrolled immigration into Hungary.

The decision comes as a blow for Mr Orban on the eve of an European Union summit.

"Exclusion of Fidesz is on the table", Weber added, saying the committee will have the "final judgement" on what to do with Fidesz.

"As long as Fidesz does not fully restore trust there can not be normal full membership", Kramp-Karrenbauer, a confidante of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, told Reuters on Wednesday. His chances of succeeding Juncker as head of the executive Commission will be reduced without the votes of Fidesz's European lawmakers, of whom there are now 12.

"For years (Mr Orban's party) has been moving away from Christian Democratic values", Mr Juncker told German radio Deutschlandfunk.

A billboard from a campaign of the Hungarian government showing EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Hungarian-American financier George Soros with the caption, "You, too, have a right to know what Brussels is preparing to do", is displayed on a street in Budapest, Hungary, February 26, 2019.

On Wednesday Juncker, who is also from the EPP, repeated his call for Fidesz to be kicked out of the grouping.

"It was a very hard discussion", said Weber, adding that Orban was at the meeting in person.

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