The EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs branded eurosceptic across Europe the “first enemies” of the EU since its creation. Mr Moscovici warned over the threat of eurosceptic alliances across the continent ahead of the European elections arguing their unity will force a political stalemate in Brussels. He told Euronews: “For the first time since its creation we’ve got enemies of Europe, people who want to destroy Europe.
“That’s what populism is about. And if those populists unite and if the pro-Europeans are divided, then we can be at a stalemate first.
“And then it would be the first step for the victory of the populists who we can call nationalists and extreme rightists.”
The warning comes as eurosceptic parties across the Brussels bloc have pledged to cooperate after the elections as a united force against the established pro-EU parties in Strasbourg.
Last month, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini launched the “European Alliance for People and Nations,” a grouping of sovereignist, anti-immigration parties that also includes Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement national (RN).
The bloc, according to Mr Salvini, would be the largest in the 751-member parliament.
Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban claimed Mr Salvini is the true strongman of Europe and the one to watch after the EU vote.
He said: “[The champion of Europe is] Matteo Salvini. He leads a large country. Europe can sanction a little country like Hungary.
“It wouldn’t dare go after a country like Italy, with 60 million people. Moreover, Italy has a powerful voice.
“It is standing firm against migrants – manning the front line.”
Mr Orban and Mr Salvini have flirted with the idea of a parliamentary alliance, but are yet to announce concrete plans.
Mr Salvini, the head of the far-right, populist League party, has for his part already formed a nationalist bloc in the EU parliament and urged all conservative and hard-right parties to join him after the vote.
Once shunned by the elite in Brussels, the likes of Mr Salvini, Mr Orban and Mrs Le Pen have been buoyed by an EU-wide surge in support for anti-immigration nationalists.
As a result, eurosceptic parties like the League, the RN and Mr Orban’s ruling Fidesz are expected to win around 35 per cent of the vote in the EU elections, according to data analysed by the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Next week’s vote has been cast as a battle between progressive liberals who believe in a more ambitious, more integrated Europe and anti-immigration populists who resent Brussels and its fiscal and migration policies.
It remains unclear to whom Mr Orban will reach out after the EU vote. While he has cold-shouldered Mrs Le Pen, he has not ruled out buddying up with Mr Salvini. The Italian hardliner, however, has already formed an alliance with his French counterpart.