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‘The EU is a nightmare’: Italy’s Salvini launches campaign to form broad nationalist alliance

‘The EU is a nightmare’: Italy’s Salvini launches campaign to form broad nationalist alliance
Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini launched his campaign to build a populist voting block in the EU, kicking off the initiative Monday by hosting a meeting with four like-minded European political parties.

Fresh from discussions with Marine Le Pen of France’s National Rally, Salvini is striving to bring together the largest anti-immigration and euroskeptic parties in the EU, believing the alliance “will be a great event for Europe for the next 30 years.

The move reflects the general rise in popularity among sovereignist parties, and has the potential to make serious waves in the EU in the wake of the parliamentary elections in late May.

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Expressing a desire to bring about “radical change,” Salvini claims to be interested in more than a change in EU leadership and says he wants to build a new Europe.

We can propose a new Europe because we have never governed (in Brussels),” Salvini said.

We are working for a new European dream. To many citizens and people today, the EU is a nightmare and not a dream.

Monday’s meeting included representatives of Alternative for Germany (AfD), the Danish People’s Party, and the Finns Party. Joerg Meuthen of the AfD told reporters that the new alliance would be called the European Alliance for People and Nations, and will initially include at least 10 parties.

Although the parties in attendance have had serious disagreements in the past, they plan to unite around a program of bringing “labour, family and safety” back to the center of their political vision, according to Salvini. The parties also share strong opposition to EU immigration policy, and hope to push for tougher border control.

While Le Pen herself was not present on Monday, Salvini said her party, the National Rally, would be taking part in the group.

Despite the absence of other potential crucial allies like Hungary’s Fidesz (who were recently suspended from the European People’s Party bloc in the EU parliament) and Poland’s Law and Justice party, both have flirted with the idea and expressed some level of solidarity with Salvini’s plans.

Salvini will swap the swanky hotel where Monday’s meeting was held for Rome’s ancient chariot-racing stadium Circus Maximus in May, where a far more ambitious meeting has been planned which organizers claim will include representatives from 15-20 countries.

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