Argentine President Javier Milei stole the show in Madrid on Sunday, as he urged Europeans to reject socialism pushed by “global elites” in a rally for populist parties before the EU Parliament elections.

Greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation from the crowd of around 11,000, libertarian economist turned-president Milei, famed for his vow to take a “chainsaw” to the bureaucratic state in Argentina, urged Europeans to turn their backs on the “evil” of socialism as he addressed the VIVA24 (Long Live 24) conference in Madrid hosted by VOX leader Santiago Abascal.

“Never forget that the damn socialists murdered 150 million human beings,” Milei proclaimed according to El Mundo, adding: “Socialism necessarily leads to slavery and death. Opening the door to socialism is inviting death.”

“The cancer of society is socialism, the enemies are leftists. Let’s not let the dark, black, atrocious, satanic, cancerous side beat us,” he said.

“Do you know what is best for workers? Let them freely agree on their accounts with the workers,” Milie argued.

“Do you know what is best for women? Stop treating them as victims who need special care. Or do socialists consider women as inferior beings? Or is it not enough to be equal before the law? Do you know that it is better for children? A father and mother who knows them better than any bureaucrat.”

“The function of the State, if it exists, is to defend the life, property and freedoms of individuals,” added Milei. “Global elites do not realise how destructive it can be to implement the ideas of socialism.”

“Freedom always prevails over death and good always triumphs over evil… Let’s not give in to socialism, we are going to face it with greater courage,” Milei concluded before shouting his famous slogan: “Long live fucking freedom!”

Argentina’s president Javier Milei delivers a speech on stage during the Spanish far-right wing party Vox’s rally “Europa Viva 24” in Madrid on May 19, 2024. Argentina’s president Javier Milei is scheduled to take part in the gathering of Spanish party Vox alongside other hard-right leaders such as France’s Marine Le Pen. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP) (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

During his visit to Spain, Milei issued a direct challenge to socialist Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for a “face to face” debate on their opposing world views.

“The question is, if Mr. Pedro Sánchez wants to talk about social justice, explain to me why stealing is okay. Let me explain why treating people unequally in the face of the law is fine because deep down social justice is stealing from someone to give it to someone else…. In another context, he is saying that stealing is okay for him. Well, it would be because for the socialists, stealing is fine, it is part of their policy”.

The outspoken Argentine leader went on to take not-so-subtle jabs at the Spanish leader’s wife, Begoña Gómez, whom Milei referred to as the “corrupt woman” over accusations that she used her husband’s leadership role for personal financial gain.

“Let him explain why he then endorses inequality before the law. He probably needs inequality before the law, so that the problems women have with justice (Begoña Gómez) can be ignored,” he quipped.

Addressing his confrontational approach to international relations, Milei said: “I don’t give a damn about the leftist opinion… They tell me, how are you going to talk about other international leaders like that? I say: the cultural battle is an inalienable commitment”.

19 May 2024, Spain, Madrid: The leader of the Spanish party Vox, José Abascal, and the French politician Marine Le Pen take part in a meeting of conservative parties from all over the world. Photo: Cesar Luis de Luca/dpa (Photo by Cesar Luis de Luca/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Alongside Milei, the conference in Madrid was addressed by other heavy hitters from the global populist movement, including French opposition leader Marine Le Pen, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who urged “patriots to occupy Brussels if we want to defend the borders of Europe”.

MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 19: The president of the Italian Council of Ministers, Giorgia Meloni, speaks telematically during VOX’s ‘Viva 24’ event at the Palacio de Vistalegre, on 19 May, 2024 in Madrid, Spain. The event, called ‘Viva 24’ and organized by VOX on an annual basis, celebrates its third edition with the participation of international leaders, among them the Argentine president, Javier Milei. In addition, during this year’s edition, the party presented its electoral program for the European elections on June 9. (Photo By Carlos Lujan/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Hosting the conference, Spanish populist leader Santiago Abascal took aim at the “progressives, the lefties, the reds, the socialists, and the cowardly and self-conscious right” for failing to confront the migrant crisis facing Europe.

“One day they lament the latest humanitarian tragedy due to the sinking of a boat in the Mediterranean and the next day they give new subsidies to the NGOs that collaborate so that more boats come,” he said.

The conference comes two weeks before citizens throughout the EU will head to the polls to select the next European Parliament. Bolstered by growing anger over failures in the economy, mass migration, and the green agenda, populist parties are projected to make large gains and potentially win outright in upwards of nine countries.

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