European migration policy and the rise of populism
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European elections: an extreme right-wing alliance to combat “pro-immigrant” parties
On Wednesday the 9th of January, the Italian minister of the Interior and leader of the Lega party Matteo Salvini met his Polish counterpart Joachim Brudzinski, the leader of the national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, in an attempt to unite extreme right-wing and nationalist parties in preparation for May’s European elections.
They hope to work together and reshape the European political landscape, which they consider dominated by a “Franco-German axis”. According to Salvini, “Poland and Italy will be the architects of this new European spring.” Cracks may yet appear in this budding relationship in the face of European migration – the Italian minister is urging greater European solidarity to distribute migrants throughout Europe, while Poland refuses to take them in.
The next day, Hungarian Prime Minister Vitror Orbán announced his support of the Italian and Polish initiative, reiterating his goal of an “anti-immigrant majority” in the European Parliament and calling Salvini a “hero”.
This initiative could result in the Polish party playing a new role in the Europe of Nations and Freedom group (ENF), which currently encompasses the French National Rally (ex-Front national) and the Austrian FPÖ. It seems very unlikely, however, that the PiS will join the European People’s Party (EPP), which includes Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party.
According to estimates by Politico, right-wing nationalists could take more than 105 of the 705 seats in the European Parliament.
This article was initially published in January in the “Veille Europe” of France terre d’asile, available in French HERE.