Italian Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Thursday held talks with Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban in Budapest, calling for an alliance between European sovereignist parties he leads and the conservative European People's Party (EPP) that Orban belongs to.
He insisted that a leftist leadership would lead to “an Islamic caliphate in Europe”.
Salvini, during a joint press conference with the Hungarian leader said that his “stronger than ever” alliance for the European elections hopes to have “dialogue” with the European People’s Party to “leave out the Left, which wishes Europe ill”.
After the European Parliament elections, the European Union would be governed either by “pro-migration or anti-migration forces”, according to Salvini’s host.
The European People’s Party, Orban said, had both kinds of politicians in its ranks, whereas the left only had politicians who supported migration and parties to the right of the EPP only politicians who opposed it. He said Fidesz wanted the EPP to cooperate with anti-migration forces, adding, however, that this was a minority view within the grouping.
Whether his party Fidesz remained a member of the EPP, Orban said, depended on “which way the EPP will turn”. Orban said if the EPP “ties itself to the left”, which he said was “constantly losing the support of the people”, it would be hard to find a place for Fidesz in that sort of grouping.
The Hungarian leader urged the EPP to be open to cooperating with parties to its right, such as Italy’s ruling League party. Europe needs an alliance of anti-migration political forces, he said. “We’re tired . of parties with barely visible support lecturing parties that have significant voter support in their own countries,” Orban said.
He said this was what had happened with his party Fidesz in the EPP. He pointed out that the party of Frans Timmermans, the spitzenkandidat of the European Socialists, “has practically ceased to exist as a serious party”. Asked if Fidesz would join Salvini’s alliance, Orban said Hungarians decided for themselves whom they chose to cooperate with.
Orban dismissed Bavarian state PM Markus Soeder’s criticism of his meeting with Salvini: “We expect more respect.” He added that his party will publicly and openly look for ways to cooperate with Salvini.
He said he wanted to cooperate with ambitious people who were willing to act “instead of the current Brussels bubble” which he said had “lost touch with the real world”, noting four problems that could only be solved by new a European leadership.
According to Orban, these were Europe’s failure to protect itself and respect its member states, the leadership’s refusal to listen to the people, and the “constant weakening” of the bloc’s economy. Orban expressed agreement with Salvini that Europe needed to “open a new chapter”.
Orban called Salvini’s visit an “honour”, saying cooperation between their two countries’ governments was at an all-time high. He praised Salvini for his efforts curb migration at sea as Hungary had done on land.
Europeans should follow the example of Italy and Hungary when it came to border protection instead of French President Emmanuel Macron. On Thursday Salvini visited the wall Hungary has erected along its border with Serbia with Orban.
“We want a different Europe, one that defends security and boosts jobs, the family and the Christian identity of our continent,” said Salvini.
Salvini also met with border guards at the fence. Hungary has spent more than one billion euros on its border protection measures but Brussels has not reimbursed any of these costs.
Orban also noted a Hungarian proposal for the establishment of a new body of Schengen interior ministers that would be charged with handling migration policy.
Salvini noted that what Europe needed was not a distribution system for migrants but rather a Europe capable of protecting its borders on sea and land.
Hungary conducts lawful checks on people attempting to enter the country, the League party leader said, adding that Hungary had sealed the border quickly and efficiently. Salvini said the situation would change for Europe and its peoples after the May 26 EP election. “We aim to define” the EU and its transformation and offer alternatives to the current European leadership, he added.
A “great alliance” will be formed by those who care for Europe’s future, Salvini said and pledged to “do everything to save the continent from that sad end”.
Salvini said “the open port policy” had resulted “in many dead” while the policy of control had succeeded in reducing the number of casualties. The current EU policy risks upsetting the peace, he said.
Integration is possible only if the number of migrants is kept under control, he said. Hungary and Italy acknowledges the rights of “real refugees” and works to stop those “who do not flee from war but intend to bring that war to Europe”. The policy of Europe having a place for everyone has “turned the Mediterranean into a mass grave”, he said.
He said his League party would “represent the Europe of the future”. Salvini also thanked Orban for an interview he gave to Italian daily La Stampa. If the European People’s Party shared Orban’s views, “then an alliance would be a beautiful thing”, he commented.
Salvini noted that he was not a “rightist” but rather against the closed elitist circle in Brussels. “I’m part of a stronger than ever alliance, not rightist but alternative to the bureaucrats”, he said of the line-up of sovereignist parties he has assembled.
“I hope we can dialogue with the conservatives to leave out the Left, which wants the worse for Europe”.
He said the goal was to “be decisive in Europe and govern the change that will come in a different way than in the past”. Salvini’s League is already part of an alliance with French, German and Polish parties.
Salvini added that “if Orban wins an alliance with the EPP is inevitable”.
Orban, has for his part, called on the EPP, which his party is part of, to “move to the right” and stressed that “we need an anti-migration EU”.