Italian Deputy Prime Minister and anti-immigration leader Matteo Salvini has fired back after German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed she wouldn’t let his party work with her in the European Parliament. The two clashed just a week before the European elections.
“We don’t want to stand with people who have ruined Europe for all these years,” Salvini replied to Merkel’s dismissal of his anti-immigrant League party. In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Angela Merkel excluded the possibility of an alliance between any right-wing and anti-establishment party with her center-right European People’s Party (EPP).
“Migration alone is enough to show why we would never open up to Mr. Salvini’s party.”
Merkel’s harsh words didn’t upset Italy’s new anti-immigrant leader. Salvini had never expressed a wish to ally with the German chancellor. Instead, he had invited the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is strongly opposed to Merkel’s open-border policy, to be part of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) right wing group in the European Parliament.
“We don’t want anything to do with Merkel and Macron, who have destroyed this European Union. We want to save Europe from the bureaucrats, the bankers and the financiers that have ruined it all these years.”
The European elections will be held between May 23 and 26 this year. The centre-right EPP and centre-left Socialist and Democrats (S&D) are forecast to lose their combined majority in the European Parliament. The Brexit Party and Salvini’s coalition of Europe of Nations and Freedom are instead projected to make major wins.