'European Spring': Italy's Salvini Building Alliance with Poland to 'Save Europe'

Clay Curtis
January 12, 2019

Members of Poland's ruling party are signaling some reservations about forming an alliance with the anti-migrant Italian League party.

Italy's pugnacious deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, called for an alliance with populists in Poland and elsewhere during a visit to Warsaw, setting the stage for a showdown with the EU establishment at European Parliament elections in May.

Salvini's planned meeting with Polish ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski is being watched as an early sign of whether the Italian firebrand can effectively mount a nationalist challenge at the European level.

Italian ports remain closed for migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini reaffirmed on Thursday, lashing out at European migration policy.

"This is a historic chance", he told reporters at a news conference at the Italian Embassy in Warsaw. The country's leader who is from the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) used a recent dispute between Brussels and Rome over the EU's demand for Italy to lower its budget deficit target to put his point across. Salvini also met with the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, and the interior minister, Joachim Brudzinski.

The Maltese government on Thursday voiced "disdain and surprise at the inaccurate allegations by Minister Salvini", pointing out that Italy had promised to take 50 migrants from Malta and that the two countries had agreed the two deals cancel each other out.

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All three leaders - Orban, Kaczynski and Salvini - say they want to keep out migrants to preserve Europe's Christian heritage and protect their citizens' security.

"The goal is that with the next European elections to the European Parliament the Sovranisti [the "sovereigntists"] will be the number one political movement and become a fundamental part of the next Parliament".

Kaczynski says Poland, the biggest beneficiary of European Union infrastructure funds, should remain a member of the bloc it joined in 2004 but wants reforms to bring more power back from Brussels to national capitals.

His aim, Salvini said, is to build "a common alliance of who wants to save Europe".

"In Europe, one has always spoken about a French-German axis", Salvini said in a news conference there.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses the media during an worldwide press conference in the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019.

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