Poland's Donald Tusk, the new president of the largest party in the European Parliament, has warned against electing far-right "political populists, manipulators, and autocrats" to leadership roles within the alliance.
Tusk, the outgoing president of the European Council, on November 20 told the center-right European People's Party (EPP) congress in Zagreb that the group should commit to the fight against "irresponsible populism."
The EPP, formed in 1976, calls itself a center-right alliance that includes 84 parties and partners in 42 countries and says it is "committed to a strong Europe based on a federal model that relies on the principle of subsidiarity."
Subsidiarity is a general principle of EU law that holds that social and political issues should be dealt with at the most immediate or local level that is consistent with their resolution.
Tusk told the congress after being elected the group's new leader that "under no circumstances can we hand the sphere of security and order to political populists, manipulators, and autocrats, who lead people into believing that freedom cannot be reconciled with security."
"We will not sacrifice values like civic liberties, the rule of law, and decency in public life on the altar of security and order, because there is simply no need.... Whoever is unable to accept it, is de facto placing himself outside our family," he said.
Tusk did not mention leaders by name, but Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has emerged as a leader of the far-right, antimigrant populist movement active in much of the continent but especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
The EPP suspended Orban's Fidesz party from the alliance after Orban led a smear campaign against EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. It is unclear if the EPP will eventually expel Fidesz from the alliance.