Published: Fri, January 11, 2019

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

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

The head of the League, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, was in Warsaw on Wednesday trying to forge an alliance with Poland's ruling populists before European Parliament elections in May.

The visit to Warsaw, initiated by Polish Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski, comes amid broader efforts by eurosceptics across the continent to unite that could fundamentally shift the direction of the European Union after the elections.

Edit Zgut, a political scientist at Warsaw University's Centre for Europe, also highlighted the contrasting views of Salvini and Kaczynski towards Russian Federation.

While Salvini has for months repeated that Italian ports are closed to migrants, Di Maio last week said that Italy should take in several women and children rescued before Christmas but stranded at sea after no port would allow them to dock.

The vote could see nationalist and far-right parties across Europe upset the bloc's balance of power, which is now dominated by the centre-right.

"The Polish-Italian or Warsaw-Rome axis is one of the greatest developments with which the year could have started, so I have great hopes for this", Orban said.

Poland's ruling party faced sharp comments from domestic critics for its apparent openness to Salvini.

"With the numbers of today's Italian and Polish delegations, we are determined and we will therefore work to be present everywhere".

Salvini, fellow deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, held talks late into the night on Wednesday. "We are preparing for a new equilibrium and a new energy in Europe".

Brudzinski, meanwhile, said he rejected accusations that the Polish and Italian governments seek to leave the EU, saying their aim is "to have influence on what our common, European home is going to look like".

Jacek Czaputowicz, the foreign minister, recently said the Salvini-Kaczynski encounter would be "a meeting at the highest level" and said it would involve discussions about the elections to the European Parliament.

"Different member states are treated quite differently in very similar situations, so this probably a definition of discrimination, isn't it?"

"One country has a budget deficit of 2.4 percent (Italy) and another country has a deficit exceeding 3 percent (France). and they are treated differently because of some other aspects", he said, referring to the budget dispute between Brussels and Rome.

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