Sunday, 24 March, 2019

Poles signal caution over alliance with Italy's Salvini

Italy far-right minister furious after migrant deal Italy far-right minister furious after migrant deal
Steven Clarke | 11 January, 2019, 18:42

Poland's government, run by the euroskeptic Law and Justice (PiS) party, has also demanded the European Union offer more sovereignty to member countries and meddle less in national affairs.

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Italy's hardline interior minister Matteo Salvini has rejected a European deal to end a deadlock that left 49 migrants adrift in the Mediterranean for almost three weeks.

"We are preparing a new equilibrium and new energy in Europe and Poland and Italy, absolutely, will lead this new European spring", Salvini said in the Polish capital Warsaw, adding that "we have a new plan for Europe" meant to replace the dominant "French-German axis".

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 European Parliament elections, being held from May 23-26, are shaping up into a battle between liberal pro-EU forces, among them French President Emmanuel Macron, and populist euroskeptics represented by Salvini and far-right leaders including France's Marine Le Pen.

Michigan Hires Alabama Assistant As OC, Poaching Him From Maryland
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However, Polish skepticism of Salvini's friendly approach to Russian President Vladimir Putin could be an impediment to collaboration.

Salvini is also meeting with Joachim Brudzinski, the interior minister, but the meeting with Kaczynski is being watched with greater interest given Kaczynski's role as the country's de facto leader, the official understood to be the real power behind the government despite his lack of any formal government portfolio.

"In Europe, one has always spoken about a French-German axis", Salvini said. He said the deal would only encourage human traffickers to launch more unseaworthy boats across the Mediterranean, reiterating his longstanding opposition to accepting any more new arrivals. "We will provide the blood for a new European community based on respect, work, growth and equality". "And Poland and Italy will be the protagonists of this new European spring, of this rebirth of true European values".

In a statement on Thursday, the Maltese government said it was "disdained and surprised" at Salvini's "inaccurate allegations".

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

Salvini's anti-immigration League party has ruled in coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement since a general election last March.

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