Following an attack from Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini struck back at her and President Emmanuel Macron of France, stating the pair had “ruined” Europe.
Merkel’s comments come as some members of the European People’s Party (EPP) parliamentary group which her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) sits with in the European Parliament have called for an alliance with Salvini and other populist parties.
Merkel totally rejected the idea, according to a report from Italian newspaper Il Giornale.
“It is clear that we have different approaches, for example in migration policy,” said Merkel, who opened Germany’s and arguably Europe’s borders unilaterally in 2015.
She added that this was “already a reason why the EPP cannot open up to Mr Salvini’s party.”
Salvini, who acts as Minister of the Interior for Italy as well as Deputy Prime Minister, reacted to Merkel’s comments by slamming both her and French president Emmanuel Macron, saying, “It is we who do not want to have anything to do with Merkel and Macron and those who have ruined this European Union. We want to save Europe which is not of bureaucrats, bankers, financiers and those who have it ruined in these past years.”
For months Salvini has been building a new populist alliance ahead of this month’s European Parliament elections and is scheduled to hold a large-scale rally Saturday in Milan where at least ten parties and movements will be represented.
Orban Labels Salvini ‘Most Important Person in Europe’ Ahead of Visit https://t.co/AhxONg4HY3
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 2, 2019
The idea of the EPP forming an alliance with Salvini comes mainly from Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, who advocates that the “centre-right” Euro group looks to the populist right rather than the liberal left when forming political alliances. His own Fidesz party was suspended from the EPP earlier this year.
Former conservative Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi has also backed a right-wing alliance, saying, “Lega and the Brothers of Italy also realised that alone in Europe they would remain in the corner or they would not count for anything. Our mission starts with changing alliances with the European left. We must build, also with my presence in the EPP, a new alliance with the moderate right parties and also with Orban and Salvini.”
Le Pen: Together With Populist Salvini, Real Change in Europe Is Possible https://t.co/IKvOMGlBlP
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 17, 2019