European Liberal Party Condemns Babis’s Participation in US Far-Right Event In Budapest
Earlier this month, former PM Babis was one of the speakers at the Budapest conference of national conservatives. Photo credit: Vlada.cz.
Stockholm/Brussels, May 28 (CTK) – The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), of which the Czech ANO party is a member, condemned ANO leader Andrej Babis’s participation in an event held by the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Budapest, in a statement released yesterday.
Earlier this month, former PM Babis was one of the speakers at the Budapest conference of national conservatives, organised by the American CPAC group and hosted by controversial Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. This met with disapproval from European liberals, who condemned Babis’s participation in the event.
ALDE said that, following a decision by its congress, it would examine how closely the ANO movement and its leadership fit with ALDE’s liberal values and mission, and would not invite Babis to its events for the time being.
“The views generally expressed at CPAC events in no shape or form reflect the fundamental values of the ALDE party and its members,” the Alliance said in its statement.
The members of the European Parliament from ALDE member parties sit together in the liberal Renew Europe parliamentary group.
“The CPAC has as its founding mission to undermine the exact individual rights and freedoms which are central to and defining for the ALDE party. Any form of affiliation therefore risks lending CPAC undue legitimacy and raises serious questions as to the values,” ALDE said.
The European liberal party will therefore immediately look into the ANO movement and its leadership to assess to what extent the Czech movement stands for ALDE’s key liberal values and its mission. Its headquarters will then recommend possible steps, and Babis will not be invited to party events until then.
At the Budapest conference, Babis sharply criticised the European Union, who he referred to as the “bureaucrats in Brussels”, and the Green Deal on the EU’s transition to renewable energy sources, which he said would destroy European industry and plunge people into poverty, he said
Today, Babis told CTK that he did not consider the ALDE response important, adding that the criticism was initiated by “an absolutely insignificant Hungarian opposition party” as an attack on Orban.
“If we talk about a liberal party, that means freedom. We have freedom and I am a free person and when the organisers invited me to the conference in Budapest, I freely decided to go,” Babis said. He said his speech spoke of his strong interest in seeing Europe prosper and survive the long-term economic struggle with the great powers.
“Within ALDE, the initiative was born out of an absolutely insignificant, tiny Hungarian opposition party that lied about me in its speech and created a resolution that is absolutely meaningless,” Babis said. He claimed that such parties were using him to attack Orban.
He said he did not think the matter would damage ANO ahead of next year’s European Parliament elections. “We are seeking the votes of the citizens of the Czech Republic. On the contrary, I think this could strengthen us,” he said.