France’s nationalist politician Marine Le Pen and Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini have announced plans to create a “Freedom Front” electoral coalition ahead of next year’s European parliamentary vote. Speaking with Le Pen at a press conference on Monday, Salvini called for a “common sense revolution” to defeat EU’s political elite in the May 2019 elections.

“Europe’s enemies are those cut off in the bunker of Brussels,” Italy’s League party leader Salvini told reporters. “The Junckers, the Moscovicis, who brought insecurity and fear to Europe and refuse to leave their armchairs.”

“Together with Matteo [Salvini] we are not fighting against Europe but against the European Union which has become a totalitarian system and we fight against the European Union in order to save the true Europe,” Le Pen, the leader of the newly constituted Rassemblement National (formerly the Front National), said.

Responding to a question about the role of the US conservative strategist Steve Bannon’s Brussels-based foundation called The Movement in the run up to the election, Le Pen said that his foundation “will offer studies, surveys and analysis … but the political force behind the EU elections is only us and us alone.”

“Because we are attached to our liberty, attached to our sovereignty and we together, the representatives of the different peoples of Europe, are the ones who will shape the political forces that aim specifically to save Europe,” she added.

French broadcaster Euronews covered the joint press conference:

During a press conference in Rome earlier today, Salvini called EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici as the “enemies” of Europe, barricading themselves in the bunkers of Brussels and refusing to leave their post.

Salvini referred to Juncker’s austerity measures as to why Europe is facing fear and job insecurity.

Both Salvini and Le Pen predicted that the European Parliament elections in May 2019 will bring about a dramatic change in the European political landscape with the populist vote. Both countries are dealing with high unemployment and migration and want to see these two problems rectified with more jobs, less austerity, and less open borders.

Alliance with Le Pen brings Salvini closer to his aim of creating a pan-European coalition. Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has already pledged his support for Salvini’s efforts. “European elections are coming. We have to change a lot of things,” Orbán said late August. “There are two sides at the moment in Europe. One is led by Macron, who is supporting migration. The other one is supported by countries who want to protect their borders. Hungary and Italy belong to the latter.”

In the current EU parliament, of the 751 seats, around 150 are occupied by parties critical of Brussels. Le Pen’s parliamentary group the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENP) has the support of only 36 members. Presently, the pro-establishment center-right European People’s Party (EPP), to which Chancellor Merkel’s CDU also belong, dominates the political landscape in Europe. But the recent emergence of Germany’s AfD party, Austria’s Freedom Party (FPÖ) and Italy’s League indicate a drastic shift of popular support away from the established parties.

European ruling elite are aware of the challenge posed by the anti-establishment parties this election season. “There will certainly be very tough election campaigns for the European elections,” Merkel admitted recently. If the right-wing parties manage to present an united front in the EU election next spring, they could succeed in disrupting the bloc’s power balance for the first time in its 60 year history.

Video: Italy’s Deputy PM Matteo Salvini meets France’s Marine Le Pen

[Cover image via YouTube]


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