Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared the establishment of a new EU parliamentary coalition with Austria's far-right party and the Czech centrist group led by former premier Andrej Babis on Sunday. Orban, whose country assumes the EU's rotating presidency on Monday, has frequently criticized the 'Brussels elites', recently accusing Brussels of escalating the conflict in Ukraine. Hungary aims to leverage its EU presidency to promote its 'vision of Europe' under the slogan 'Make Europe Great Again', mirroring the campaign phrase of Orban's ally, former US President Donald Trump.

Orban described the formation of a new European political faction as the beginning of a new era, possibly its decisive moment, during a joint press conference in Vienna with Austria's Freedom Party (FPOe) leader Herbert Kickl and Czech ANO party leader Babis. The trio pledged to usher in a 'new era' by signing a patriotic manifesto that promises 'peace, security and development' instead of 'war, migration and stagnation'. The new alliance, dubbed 'Patriots for Europe', requires backing from parties in at least four additional countries to be recognized as a group in the EU parliament, with its potential members still uncertain.

Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) announced its official withdrawal from the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, to which the FPOe also belongs, alongside France's National Rally and Italy's League, at its party conference on Sunday. The AfD's MEPs had already been excluded from the ID group prior to the EU elections in early June due to controversies involving its lead candidate Maximilian Krah, including questionable ties to Russia and China. Orban's Fidesz party departed from the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), the European Parliament's largest group, in 2021 amid allegations of Hungary's democratic regression.

Despite the AfD's current inability to form a joint parliamentary group with Fidesz, this situation opens new avenues for the AfD to collaborate with other parties, as the overall party landscape of ECR and ID is in a state of flux, according to a spokesman for AfD leader Alice Weidel. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) is poised to become the EU parliament's third-largest force following the far-right's gains in the European elections. Fidesz, in partnership with KDNP, now holds 11 MEPs, ANO has seven, and the FPOe six. For the first time, the FPOe led the European election in Austria and is also expected to win the national elections later this year. Babis' ANO recently announced its departure from Renew Europe, which includes French President Emmanuel Macron's party.