ITALY’S firebrand deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini is trying to create a populist alliance to take on the Brussels establishment in a showdown over the future of the European Union.
Mr Salvini, who leads the nationalist, anti-immigrant League party, pledged to create a “new European spring” ahead of the European Parliament elections in May and to work with Poland’s ruling populists. He pledged to rally Eurosceptic allies to take on the likes of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and forge a “new equilibrium” to challenge the traditional pro-EU axis between Paris and Berlin.
Mr Salvini believes he has much in common with Poland’s populists, including opposition to accepting migrants and criticism of the way in which Brussels imposes rules on national budgets.
Grzegorz Schetyna branded the League party a "nationalist, radical and pro-Russian party."
Speaking alongside his Polish counterpart Joachim Brudzinski during a visit to Warsaw, Mr Salvini said: "The Europe that will be born in June will have a different pace compared to the one of today, which is guided by bureaucrats.
“In Europe, one has always spoken about a French-German axis. We are preparing for a new equilibrium and a new energy in Europe.
“And Poland and Italy will be the protagonists of this new European spring, of this rebirth of true European values.
“I proposed to the leader of PiS Jaroslav Kaczinski and I intend to propose to others a pact for Europe with common points following the model of the agreement between Lega and M5S for the Italian government in which Italians, Polish, Spaniards, Danes and the others can decide whether to agree or not.