The participation of Andrej Babiš, former prime minister and ANO party leader, at a conservative conference in Budapest, will be addressed at the ALDE congress, attended by Liberals and Democrats from across Europe, in Stockholm this week.
Babiš attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CAPC) in Budapest at the start of May, where he was presented as a “conservative leader”.
His attendance at an event, joined by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and other like-minded politicians, sparked criticism from his liberal allies, who questioned his commitment to the principles of the Renew Europe group and the pan-European liberal party ALDE.
“The issue has been raised by some members, and it will be mainly discussed at the ALDE Congress,” a Renew Europe group spokesperson told EURACTIV.
“We are following the situation closely,” the spokesperson added.
This was confirmed by EU Parliament Vice-President, Czech MEP Dita Charanzová.
“I can confirm that some delegations are interested in Mr Babis’ participation in the Conservative conference in Budapest and want to discuss it at the ALDE congress in Stockholm,” she told EURACTIV.cz.
Since ANO joined the ALDE liberal group in 2014, several politicians, such as former European Commissioner Pavel Telička and Czech diplomat Petr Ježek, left the Czech party, saying it was no longer liberal.
Charanzová, who became ALDE’s vice-president in 2018, is not an official member of ANO, even though she was the lead candidate in the 2019 EU elections. It is still unclear whether she will run in the upcoming 2024 elections.
Babiš and the leadership of the ANO party in the Czech Republic describe their political style as “liberal conservatism”. They are, for example, very critical towards the European Green Deal and EU climate agenda in general, contrary to Renew Europe and ALDE party, which promote ambitious climate policy at the EU level.
Asked whether ANO’s position clashes with Renew Europe views, the group spokesperson said, “This is not rare that some delegations take some individual stances“.
“It does not change our line as a group,” the spokesperson added.
(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)
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