Patriots for Europe EP Group forms with Fidesz

July 09. 2024. – 10:17 AM


Patriots for Europe EP Group forms with Fidesz
The initial meeting of Patriots for Europe on 8 July 2024 – Photo: Kinga Gál / Facebook


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"Our group has been formed! Patriots for Europe is the 3rd largest group in the European Parliament" – Kinga Gál, Chair of the Fidesz delegation to the European Parliament announced on Facebook.

A document about establishing the group was signed in Vienna on 30 June by Fidesz President Viktor Orbán, Herbert Kickl, President of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and Andrej Babiš, leader of the Czech ANO. The Hungarian Prime Minister announced the next day that the group would be formed on 8 July.

Since then, almost all the members of the Identity and Democracy (ID) group have announced their defection, as have the MEPs of the Spanish Vox from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). According to a post by Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communication and Relations of the Orbán government on X (the former Twitter), the group is made up of 84 members from 12 countries:

  • Rassemblement National (French, ID) 30;
  • Fidesz (independent) and KDNP (former EPP, then independent) 11;
  • Lega (Italian, ID) 8;
  • ANO (Czech, formerly Liberal, then independent) 7;
  • FPÖ (Austrian, ID) 6;
  • Vox (Spanish, ECR) 6;
  • PVV (Dutch, ID) 6;
  • Vlaams Belang (Belgian, ID) 3;
  • Chega (Portuguese, ID) 2;
  • Přísaha a Motoristé (Czech, independent) 2;
  • Voice of Reason (Greek, independent) 1;
  • Latvia First (independent) 1;
  • Dansk Folkeparty (ID) 1

According to the EP data, last updated on Friday, this indeed puts them in third place:

  • without Vox, which switched to PfE, the European Conservatives and Reformists, third until now, currently have 78 members;
  • the Liberals, which ANO came over from with an in-between step, are now at 76.

This means that after more than three years, the Fidesz MEPs no longer have to sit among the independents, which is where they ended up after leaving the centre-right European People's Party in March 2021 to avoied being expelled.

To form a group, there must be at least 23 MEPs from at least seven countries.

According to a recent Politico article, the plan is to bring over the administrative backbone of ID almost in its entirety. After the meeting, the paper reported that the gathering had been wrapped up in less than 20 minutes. According to Zoltán Kovács's post, RN leader Jordan Bardella will be chairman and Kinga Gál will be first vice-chair.

There may still be new members and transfers coming

At Monday's government briefing, Minister of the Prime Minister's Office Gergely Gulyás gave a thinly veiled hint as to why it was important to overtake the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the third largest group according to official figures: to create a platform for truly conservative, “pro-peace” forces to speak out.

Previous statements had suggested that Fidesz would join the Eurosceptic ECR, even last December Orbán said that this was only a matter of time. However, after the June EP elections, co-president Nicola Procaccini said that Fidesz had never officially requested to join them, and even if it had wanted to, MEPs would have had to sign a declaration supporting Ukraine's war of defense against Russia. Despite this, for example, the leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders, indicated his support for Ukraine when announcing their membership in PfE.

All is not lost for the ECR yet, however. Despite Orbán's attempts to convince the second biggest delegation in the group, that of the Polish Law and Justice to join PfE, the party's 20 MEPs have decided to stay put for the time being.

Six of the 12 countries, however, are represented by mini-parties of only a few members; from the Czech Republic, for example, two members of the Oath and Motorists coalition have joined. They combined anti-immigrant rhetoric with defending traditional mechanical engineering in their campaign and won 10.26% of the vote on 9 June, which was enough for two seats.

With the leader of their list, Filip Turek, the Patriots now have an actual neo-Nazi in their group.

According to, the Czech police are currently investigating the former car racer-weapons collector-influencer for his widely published photos in which he performs the Nazi salute. The politician had to cancel public debates in the campaign finale because of this. Turek, of course, does not consider himself a neo-Nazi, he claims he merely has a "sharp and brutal sense of humour" and has "made several mistakes" when he was young. At the same time, however, he says he always puts 88 litres of petrol in his car (88 in neo-Nazi numerology refers to the eighth letter of the alphabet, H, and through it the greeting "Heil Hitler!").

Czech media have also unearthed Turek's old motorbike helmet, emblazoned with the symbol of the Greek Golden Dawn reminiscent of a swastika; almost the entire leadership of the far-right Greek party, which emerged during the economic crisis of the 2010s, was convicted on charges of organised crime in 2020.

Other gems about Turek have also emerged during the campaign:

  • In a past Facebook post, he referred to Adolf Hitler as "golden daddy".
  • He is an avid collector of swastika-decorated relics as well as those with the symbol of the SS (the elite guard and executive force unit of the Nazi Reich)
  • His nickname for his house is Adlerhorst, or Eagle's Nest. The bunker with that name was conceived by Albert Speer as Nazi Germany's main military command centre, and was later used by Hermann Göring.

Turek's membership in the group is interesting in more ways than one. On the one hand, the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) was excluded from the Identity and Democracy Group over much more subdued Nazi nostalgia than Turek's. Viktor Orbán, on the other hand, has for years been trying to pin the stigma of anti-Semitism on the 'pro-immigration' and 'woke' European left, while presenting himself as the biggest defender of Jews in Europe.

In an interview with Hungarian public television on 1 July, Viktor Orbán said that they would be creating the third and then the second biggest group in the European Parliament. "We are going to outgrow everybody soon", and "we have a pretty detailed action plan" to that end – suggesting that even after the EP's inaugural session on 16 July, the race to dominate the radical right may still bring about some reshuffling.

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