Italy news: Lega leader Salvini says Italy will ‘change EU rules’ with Viktor Orban | World | News


Anti-EU Lega leader Mr Salvini said earlier on Monday he had a “long and nice” call with Mr Orban.

Speaking at a rally in Fiumicino, near Rome, to support the Lega candidate for the local elections taking place on June 10, he said: “Today I had a long and nice call with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who wished us all the best and with whom we are going to change the rules of this European Union.”

This display of appreciation would, according to Mr Salvini, show that there is “a lot of support” abroad for the new government, which sworn in on Friday after more than 80 days of political deadlock.

Mr Salvini, who is also Home minister, added: “We are trying to build a network with other countries of tranquility and safety, of peace and war on terrorism.” 

But a possible agreement between the eurosceptics in Italy and Hungary is set to upset many, including former Home secretary Marco Minniti, a member of the centre-left wing Democratic Party (PD) who already attacked the policies announced by the Lega-Five Star Movement coalition.

On June 2 he said: “Italy has always cultivated the dialogue between East and West but has never been a country of the East neighbouring the West.

“We can’t become like Hungary standing at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea.” 

Mr Orban’s interest for Italy’s immigration policy doesn’t come as a surprise. 

In July last year he sent a letter to then-prime minister Paolo Gentiloni urging him to “close Italy’s ports” to limit the number of arrivals to the European coasts, a piece of advice that was fiercely rejected by the Italian PM.

The Hungarian PM, who was re-elected by a landslide on April 8, is currently leading the anti-immigration front in Europe, dealing a series of blows to EU immigration policies that are upsetting the union. 

The leader of right-wing Fidesz approved last week a law punishing any individual or association, including non-for-profit ones, who are caught helping illegal migrants in the country.

And in 2015 he ordered the construction of a wall between Hungary and Serbia to prevent migrants from entering his country’s borders.

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