In an unprecedented meeting of nationalist stalwarts, the leader of Italy’s Lega party Matteo Salvini met with France’s National Rally chief, Marine le Pen and discussed upcoming European Parliament elections which are due to take place on May 23.
The two right wing politicians who are longtime allies at the EU level also discussed the possibility of organizing a joint rally to conclude the campaign for the European elections.
According to sources, they also plan to “announce the start of a new Europe”.
After the meeting, both Le Pen and Salvini tweeted a photo of them together, revealing their joint resolve ahead of the polls.
“We’re ready together with Matteo Salvini to win the European elections on May 26,” Le Pen wrote.
Le Pen shared her vision for the new Europe:
“I make a difference between the European Union and Europe. I wish for a European organization, that Nations agree on a number of subjects, but without a Commission that has the legislative initiative and is composed of people who are not elected.”
However, Italian Deputy Premier and 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Luigi Di Maio expressed concern over the cordial meeting:
“I’m concerned about this ultra-right drift at a European level with political forces that will be part of the group the League will ally with, which go so far as to deny the Holocaust in some cases.
“We’re talking about parliamentary groups who have left the parliament when the Holocaust massacres and what they did in the concentration camps were being commemorated, and so when I see these things I am worried.
“It is my duty as a political force and political head of the M5S to say that those things do not belong to me, in fact we will create a single and independent group in parliament with other civic movements like ours and we won’t be with these ultra-right (forces), which worry me a lot when it comes to ideological clashes”.
Salvini is also trying to forge alliances with other sovereigntist leaders and groups including Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Poland’s Law and Justice Party ahead of the May elections.