Salvini plans rally to unite Europe’s nationalist parties ahead of vote


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Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said he would host a major rally of European nationalist and far-right parties to promote a shared political vision ahead of May’s EU parliamentary elections.

Salvini leads the ruling League party and hopes to put together a bloc of like-minded, anti-immigration parties in the European parliament to challenge the traditionally predominant and mainstream centre-left and centre-right groups.

With time running out, he announced this week he would kick off his campaign for the May 26 vote in Milan on Monday with representatives of just three, relatively small far-right European parties.

But speaking after talks with his longtime French ally Marine Le Pen, Salvini told reporters he planned a much more ambitious election rally next month.

“It will be the first time an event drawing together at least 15 or 20 European countries will take place in Italy”, he told reporters in Paris.

Salvini did not say what other parties had signed up to the initiative, which the League hopes to hold in Rome’s ancient chariot-racing stadium Circus Maximus.

Le Pen’s National Rally party also announced in a press release on Friday the organisation of that meeting which will take place in Italy only days before the European elections.

European parties have created multiple, pan-national groups in the EU parliament, with the League a member of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), which includes Le Pen’s National Rally and Austria’s Freedom Party of Austria.

Salvini wants to embrace other far-right or nationalist leaders whose parties are in different groups, such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of Poland’s ruling PiS party.