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Conservative Weber names conditions for Orban's party to remain in EPP

FILE PHOTO: German conservative Manfred Weber, leader of the European People's Party (EPP) in the European Parliament and top candidate for the European elections attends the party's Group Bureau meeting in Athens, Greece, February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

BERLIN (Reuters) - Manfred Weber, the top conservative candidate for the upcoming EU elections, told a newspaper that Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban needed to stop his anti-EU rhetoric if he wanted his Fidesz party to remain in the European conservative party EPP.

In an interview with Bild, the German conservative said he wanted to make one last attempt to keep the Hungarian premier in his European party family as Europe’s conservatives are due to debate on a possible exclusion on March 20.

“Victor Orban must immediately and permanently end his government’s anti-Brussels campaigns,” Weber was quoted as saying, adding that Orban needed to apologise to other EPP member parties and ensure the existence of the Central European University in Budapest.

The European Union executive accused Hungary’s nationalist government on Monday of distorting the truth about immigration into the bloc, marking a further deterioration in their troubled relationship ahead of European Parliament elections in May.

Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Michelle Martin