Italian populist Matteo Salvini, frontrunner to win the nation’s coming elections, has said the European Union “can go f*ck itself” in an explosive interview.
Salvini, a member of the European Parliament and leader of the Lega Nord party, on Thursday agreed on a joint manifesto with two other right-leaning leaders, and the coalition is now favourite to govern Italy after the vote on March 4th 2018.
During a heated interview with Italian TV Channel Rete 4 this week, Mr. Salvini reaffirmed his eurosceptic credentials, blasting: “Europe can go f*ck itself!”
“Europe has been punishing us for the last 15 years and we are worse off than 15 years ago,” he added. “European measures are the last thing I am interested in.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 3, 2017
He also attacked the EU Economic Affairs Commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, for interfering with the Italian election process.
His tirade against Brussels continued on Twitter, where he wrote: “Slaves of the European Union? No, thanks! I can’t wait for Italy, with our government, to regain its sovereignty to defend the national interest in any way possible.
“Unacceptable intrusion from a European bureaucrat in Italy’s elections. The immigration policies and economic sacrifices imposed by the European Union have been a disaster and will be rejected by the free vote of Italians. European bureaucrats calm down.”
He added on the social media platform Thursday: “League will always defend our fisheries and the agriculture of Italy. Enough with the European standards that slaughter our businesses and our territory!”
— Silvio Berlusconi (@berlusconi) January 18, 2018
Mr. Salvini agreed on a joint manifest this Friday with Silvio Berlusconi, former four-time Prime Minister of Italy, and Giorgia Meloni, leader of the nationalist Brothers of Italy party, promising to slash taxes for Italians.
“The Italy I have in mind for the next few years: reduces taxes and attract businesses,” he explained on Twitter, before praising U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s tax cuts.
Polls suggest the right-wing alliance will win the most seats in the election, but fall short of an outright majority, making it hard to predict what sort of coalition government might emerge.
Explaining the agreement on Twitter, Mr. Salvini said: “Whoever gets one more vote between me and Berlusconi will make the President of the Council.”