European Christian party embraces Hungarian MEP of former racist Jobbik party


European Union

Evert van Vlastuin, CNE.news

Márton Gyöngyösi in 2019. Photo CNE, Evert van Vlastuin

The European Christian Political Movement (ECPM) has accepted the Hungarian Jobbik representative in the European Parliament in the ranks of the MEPs speaking on behalf of the Christian movement.

The ECPM released this news on Thursday afternoon. Márton Gyöngyösi is the only MEP for Jobbik Conservative. From Brussels and Strasbourg, he also functions as the national party leader. The party has lost quite some seats over the last elections, both in Hungary and the EU.

The party decided to re-focus on the Christian roots in 2015. Until then, Jobbik was openly racist and anti-Semitic. In 2013, Jobbik marched against the World Jewish Congress in Budapest, fearing that Jews would harm the Hungarian economy. The European Jewish Congress still spoke about a “Neo-Nazi party” in 2014.

The ECPM accepts Gyöngyösi in his personal capacity as a member of the European Parliament. His party, Jobbik Conservative, has also asked for membership of the European movement, but that application is still pending.

In 2019, he spoke in an interview with the Dutch Reformatorisch Dagblad about his party’s renewal. “We were a subculture”, he then said. “There were even anti-Semites among us.”

Valeriu Ghiletchi, Marton Gyongyosi.JPEG
Ghiletchi (left) and Gyöngyösi (right). Photo ECPM

He himself made anti-Semitic expressions in 2012. On Thursday evening, he said that he had apologised for this. “We have openly discussed that with the ECPM board”, he said. “The same with other parts of our past.”

His contact with the ECPM started with personal relations with the Moldovan politician and pastor Valeriu Ghiletchi in the Council of Europe. Ghiletchi is presently ECPM president. Another contact was Johannes de Jong, director of ECPM’s political think tank Sallux. “These contacts made clear that there was a perfect match between Jobbik and the ECPM”, according to Gyöngyösi.

The conclusion of the talks was that “it was accepted that we are not racist any longer”, Gyöngyösi said. In Hungary, this was accepted already earlier, according to the MEP. “Last spring, the American ambassador invited me as the only politician to a seder dinner with many members of the Jewish society in Hungary. Everybody could see that we were not anti-Semitic anymore.” He admitted, however, that there was criticism of the ambassador’s invitation as well, because of Gyöngyösi’s past.

With the accession of Márton Gyöngyösi, the number of MEPs under the ECPM umbrella comes to five. These are Cristian Terheș from Romania, Anja Haga from the Netherlands, Helmut Geuking from Germany, and Bert-Jan Ruissen from the Netherlands. The ECPM presents itself as the “only European political party explicitly promoting Christian values”. According to the press release, the ECPM and Gyöngyösi share “the same values when it comes to human dignity and the preciousness of life, traditional marriage, protecting the EU external borders and curbing illegal migration.”

Ghiletchi. Photo CNE

All five MEPs of the movement are “weary of Brussels’ power grab and advocate for stronger national sovereignty and a strict enforcement of the principle of subsidiarity.”

The Roman Catholic Gyöngyösi was a member of the Hungarian parliament from 2010 to 2019. In 2019, he moved to the European Parliament. In the EP, Gyöngyösi serves as a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and as a substitute on the Committee on International Trade and the Subcommittee on Human Rights.



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