On Monday 8 April 2019, deputy prime minister and leader of the far-right League party, Matteo Salvini, hosted a press conference with delegates from four European far-right parties announcing the formation of a new parliamentary group following the European elections in May 2019.
"On Monday in Milan, the Lega secretary Matteo Salvini will hold a press conference to present the campaign for Europe together with allied parties, and another event could be held in Italy at the end of April. But the main event, with international guests, should be the one scheduled in the Lombardy capital on 18 May."1
Besides Lega's Matteo Salvini, the German AfD's federal spokesman and MEP Jörg Meuthen,1 Anders Vistisen from the Danish People's Party and Olli Kottro from the Finn's Party were speaking at the press conference.2
The group will be called "European Alliance of Peoples and Nations".
In his speech, the German delegate Meuthen was rallying particularly for a decentralization of the EU, as well as the establishment of a Fortress Europe:
"Matteo has already made it very clear what we want to do differently in this group: We want to reform the European Union from head to toe, but we do not want to destroy it. We want a radical change to the effect that the European Union should give competences back to the member states. We want much more power in our home countries and much less concentration of power in the bureaucracies of Brussels and Strasbourg. For example, we also want vital and powerful protection of the Union's external borders. We want to reduce illegal migration into the EU to zero. In the future, only those who have obtained our prior permission outside the EU's borders will be allowed in, and be able to enter the EU. If we want to preserve our Europe of the diversity of rich cultures and its extremely rich heritage - and I emphasise this with determination - then we will have to build a Fortress Europe into which we will only let those we are prepared to let in."2
>> (See the full translation of Meuthen's speech)
In the meantime also the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and the Belgian Vlaams Belang have agreed to join Salvini's alliance.34 Lega, FPÖ and Vlaams Belang have hitherto been members of the Europe of Nation and Freedom (ENF) group in the EU parliament.
Also the Estonian EKRE party has intentions to join.5
- 1. a. b. "Europee: Meuthen (Afd) sarà a Milano con Salvini," ANSA, 3 April 2019, https://www.ansa.it/europa/notizie/europarlamento/news/2019/04/03/europee-meuthen-afd-sara-a-milano-con-salvini-_19605477-c283-46ed-93e4-a10fcc85e242.html.
- 2. a. b. "Rechtspopulisten sammeln sich in Mailand für Europawahl," WELT, 8 April 2019, https://www.welt.de/politik/video191526263/Meuthen-besucht-Salvini-Rechtspopulisten-sammeln-sich-in-Mailand-fuer-Europawahl.html.
- 3. Zia Weise, "Austrian far-right party to join Salvini’s EU election alliance," Politico, 9 April 2019, https://www.politico.eu/article/austrian-far-right-party-to-join-salvinis-eu-election-alliance/.
- 4. " Lega en AfD starten nieuwe eurosceptische fractie, ook Vlaams Belang doet mee," De Standaard, 8 April 2019, http://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20190408_04309879.
- 5. Tweet by Europe Elects, 11 April 2019, https://twitter.com/EuropeElects/status/1116298795187412992.