German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, who is facing mounting criticism from Hungary.
Merkel told reporters: “Jean-Claude Juncker has my full solidarity, and we will also make that clear in discussions with Hungary”.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Merkel refused to take her defence further. She avoided answering a reporter’s question about whether Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party should be expelled from the majority centre-right European Peoples’ Party (EPP) ahead of European parliamentary elections in late May.
Some leaders have called for expulsion, none have submitted such requests. Most notably, Germany has been particularly resistant to the idea. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán‘s Fidesz and Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance are both members of the EPP bloc. Juncker was its candidate for the Commission presidency in the 2014 European elections.
According to DW, Orban has led a systematic attack on Juncker and Brussels. Earlier this week, Fidesz unveiled a new campaign accusing Juncker of being a puppet of liberal, Hungarian-born investor and philanthropist George Soros.
Posters were seen around Hungary with pictures of Juncker and Soros and the words: “You have the right to know what Brussels is preparing. They want to bring in the mandatory settlement quota; weaken member states’ rights to border defence; facilitate immigration with a migrant visa.”