PARIS – Leader of the Italian right-wing party, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini met with France’s right-wing chief Marine Le Pen to discuss the upcoming European elections. Salvini also indicated a right-wing mobilization as Europe has never seen before.
The two right-wing politicians gathered in Paris last Friday, when Salvini went to France to meet with other G-7 Interior ministers.
Le Pen and Salvini – who are long-time allies in the European Union (EU) – had a “cordial meeting,” according to local media. The two discussed the upcoming European Parliament elections due to begin on 23 May.
Although few details of the meeting were released, Le Pen and Salvini went to Twitter, posting a photo of them together and showing their joint determination before the polls.
“We are ready together with Matteo Salvini to win the European elections on May 26,” Le Pen wrote.
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) April 5, 2019
Salvini, meanwhile, said the two are trying to bring new members into their alliance and help “bring some common sense to Europe.”
After the talks, the Italian politician also indicated that there will be a planned meeting with rightists from all over Europe before the elections.
Stamane a Parigi con Marine Le Pen, per parlare di lavoro, famiglia e tutela dell’ambiente, impegnati ad allargare l’alleanza di chi il 26 maggio vuole cambiare e portare un po’ di buonsenso in Europa! 😊 @MLP_officiel pic.twitter.com/MW6Kak1ISr
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) April 5, 2019
“We are preparing a major event for Europe for the next 30 years in May in Italy where we will invite all European movements that are alternatives to the government of the Socialists and the European People’s Party of recent years,” Salvini told reporters.
“It will be the first time an event that brings together at least 15 or 20 European countries and it will be held in Italy,” he added.
It is not yet clear, however, which specific right-wing parties will attend the event. The Salvini League is a member of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) bloc, along with the Le Pen National Rally and the Austrian Freedom Party.
Italy’s coalition partners started separate struggles for the European Union (EU) elections in May after the recent regional elections saw a resounding victory for the right-wing coalition of Matteo Salvini at the expense of the left.
The coalition of the deputy prime minister obtained 42 percent of ballot boxes in the southern Basilicata region in the local elections at the end of last month, with 18.8 percent of Salvini’s party supporters.
The result marked the end of the center-left administration of the mainly agricultural region for the first time since 1995.
It also meant a steep decline in local support for the 5-Star Movement (M5S), whose popularity in Basilicata was halved from the 44.3% achieved in last year’s general election, hovering just over 20% after the survey regional meeting of the last weekend.
However, they still remain the largest party in the region. While the M5S and the League are coalition partners in the national government, the right wing legend is associated locally with Forza Italia, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, and the smaller party of the Italian Brothers, with whom they are more ideologically aligned.
Salvini thanked voters for his support on Monday.
“THANK YOU, the League tripled your vote in a year, the victory also in Basilicata! Goodbye to the left,” he declared, before proclaiming that “now [it’s time to] change Europe”.