WARSAW – Italy’s far-right deputy prime minister visited Poland on Wednesday where he said both nations would lead the charge to restore traditional values to the European Union.
Matteo Salvini, the leader of the anti-immigration League party who is also the country’s interior minister, struck a nationalist tone underlining what he believed were the values shared by the two nations during a speech following his meeting with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski.
“Poland and Italy will be the heroes of the new European Spring,” Salvini said, harnessing a rhetorical trope adopted by several far-right parties on the continent ahead of European parliamentary elections slated for May, where pollsters expect populist nationalist parties to field a strong showing.
Italy’s government, a coalition between anti-establishment Five Star Movement (Ms5) and Salvini’s League share anti-European Union sentiments with Poland’s nationalist-conservative Law and Justice party government.
“Because the Franco-German axis has been dominating Europe for years, we are looking for a new balance, new energy,” Savini said.
He said Poland and Italy would seek a Europe based less on finance and bureaucracy and more on work, family and security.
The anti-immigration politician, a controversial figure in Italian politics, said Poland was right to return to its “Judeo-Christian roots,” something he said the EU avoids through its “irrational rejection of family values.”