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Orban Acclaims Anti-Migrant ‘Rome-Warsaw Axis’

Italy’s Salvini meets and greets Polish leaders, but differences over Russia could stand in the way of true friendship.

11 January 2019

Italian Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini (pictured), head of the anti-migrant League party, was in Poland this week on what many media described as the test launch of a new rightist bloc to fight this spring’s elections to the European Parliament.

 

He called for “a new Europe.”

 

“I’d like to create a pact, an alliance for everyone who wants to save Europe, the more of us, the better,” The Independent quotes him as saying.

 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki earlier said he and Salvini “are on the same page with regards to many European matters.”

 

Joining forces with Salvini’s League could make sense for Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party.

 

PiS is a founding member of the European Conservatives and Reformists bloc in the European Parliament. Although they are the third-largest grouping in the parliament, the impending departure of the UK’s Conservatives after Brexit means fresh blood is needed, Politico writes.

 

Cooperation may only go so far, however, Politico goes on. Both parties want to dismantle the EU’s untidy migration policy, but while Salvini wants northern countries to accept some of its hundreds of thousands of migrants, PiS resolutely opposes migration from outside Europe in principle.

 

PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski is also “vulnerable to opposition attacks over Salvini's open support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, a problem in generally anti-Russia Poland,” Politico says.

 

A commentator for leading Polish daily Rzeczpospolita, Michal Szuldrzynski, said Salvini may have received a less than warm welcome from the PiS leader.

 

“Kaczynski showed that he doesn’t want to be a part of a euroskeptic alliance under the patronage of the Kremlin,” Szuldrzynski wrote yesterday, The Associated Press reports.

 

 

  • Differences over Russia are not necessarily the most important consideration for PiS, however. Poland’s leadership has built a common front with Hungary’s Viktor Orban, a friend of Putin’s, as both governments face EU sanctions over rule of law violations.

 

  • Orban yesterday praised Salvini’s Poland trip, saying he backed the idea of “a Rome-Warsaw axis that is capable of governing, capable of taking responsibility and opposed to immigration.”

 

  • According to a Politico poll, PiS could win 24 seats in the next European Parliament, a slight rise from now, while the League could leap from six seats to 27.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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