Italian populist Senator Matteo Salvini and the conservative Central European premiers Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, of Hungary and Poland, will meet to discuss a conservative alliance within the European Union.
Salvini, the populist leader of the League (Lega, formerly Lega Nord) party, confirmed the meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday in Budapest.
Salvini stated that his end goal was to see his Identity and Democracy (ID) group in the European Parliament merge with the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and form a supergroup within the assembly, Il Giornale reports.
“The two groups that are divided today, ID and ECR, will merge into a single large group, which would be the second group in the European Parliament,” Salvini said during a press conference to international media on Tuesday.
The former Italian deputy prime minister added that migration would also be discussed during the meeting, and claimed that current Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, “acknowledges that the current system does not work”.
Hungarian Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations Zoltan Kovacs also confirmed the meeting, writing: “The topic of EU level political cooperation between [Orbán’s Fidesz party], Lega Nord, and [Morawiecki’s Law and Justice party] will feature prominently on the agenda.”
Orban Party Leaves Largest EU Parliament Group After Years of Conflict https://t.co/kU4KN1OGHp
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The conference comes just weeks after Prime Minister Orbán’s party announced it would be leaving the European People’s Party (EPP), the largest grouping in the European Parliament that features supposedly “centre-right” parties such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
The resignation, delivered in a letter from Prime Minister Orbán, came after years of attempts by other members of the group to either punish or remove Fidesz, which culminated in the party’s suspension from the group in March 2019.
Last year, 13 parties in the EPP demanded the expulsion of Fidesz after the Hungarian government passed an emergency law to tackle the Wuhan virus, arguing the law could be extended indefinitely. Similar emergency laws in other EU countries went unchallenged.
The new summit will not be the first meeting between Salvini and Orbán ,or the first meeting between Salvini and Poland’s Prime Minister Morawiecki, as Salvini has met with both leaders separately in recent years.
Prime Minister Orbán has not hidden his fondness for the Italian populist leader, stating in 2018 that Salvini was a “hero” after the then-Interior Minister enacted policies to stop illegal migration and migrant “taxi” NGOs operating in the Mediterranean.
Orban to ‘Brother in Arms’ Salvini: Hungarians ‘Will Never Forget’ Your Fight for Strong Borders, European Heritage https://t.co/XkHpAbPhTo
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