European right-wingers promised to restructure the EU

Parties from a dozen countries met, spurred by last month's election in the Netherlands, in which Geert Wilders' anti-immigrant Freedom Party unexpectedly won.

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Matteo Salvini, Photo: Reuters
Matteo Salvini, Photo: Reuters

Leaders of Europe's far-right parties met in Florence and pledged to reshuffle the European Union after next year's European Parliament elections, tighten migrants' access to the Union and ease climate policy to protect jobs and industry.

Parties from a dozen countries met, spurred by last month's election in the Netherlands, in which Geert Wilders' anti-immigrant Freedom Party unexpectedly won.

"Our goal is to become at least the third largest group in the European Parliament, behind the center-right and the socialists, and for decisions to depend on us," said Vice-President of the Italian government Matteo Salvini, who hosted the meeting, reports N1.

The far-right Identity and Democracy group is now the sixth largest in the European Parliament, behind the Liberal, Green and Conservative groups, and current polls place it in fourth place.

Addressing the Florence rally by video link, Wilders said he hoped his success, a "political shakeup in the Netherlands and Europe", could be "the start of a wave of national election victories" for like-minded allies.

Wilders praised Salvini, head of the League party, as an inspiration and his "number one Italian friend".

Wilders
Wildersphoto: Reuters

Salvini opposed the decision of the European Union to ban new cars that emit carbon dioxide from 2035, and in this he was supported by one of the leaders of the Alternative for Germany, Tino Črupala, who called for "an end to the war against cars".

Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally president Jordan Bardela won applause by saying Europe cannot become a "five-star hostel for Africa", linking mass immigration to violence and crime.

There was less unity on other issues, with Wilders denouncing excessive public spending, Salvini speaking out against the eurozone's budgetary discipline, and far-right German and Austrian politicians criticizing Ukraine and Russia policies.

"The Ukrainians cannot win this war, they need to stop it," Chrupala said, blaming European Union sanctions against Russia for sinking the German economy and calling for the resumption of Russian gas imports via the North Stream pipeline.

Salvini told reporters that his party "clearly supported any intervention in favor of the defense of Ukraine with facts, votes and money."

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