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    Italian Deputy PM Matteo Salvini visited Poland in a bid to trigger what he called a "European Spring" that could threaten the dominance of the current "Germany-France axis." Sputnik discussed the possible shift of balance in Brussels with Bill Ravotti, moderator of the V4 Report and a Republican nominee for US Congress in 1996 and 1998.

    Sputnik: Former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage once offered Orban the opportunity to form a new political camp, consisting of Eurosceptics. Do you think it is likely such bloc will eventually be formed?

    Bill Ravotti: Yes, but not as many of us envisioned. The UK is about to exit [maybe] while Orban seems reluctant for now to leave the pro-EU EPP Party.
    We were pleasantly surprised to see Matteo Salvini and the PiS [Polish Law and Justice Political Party] take the initiative this week to form this new bloc.

    The EU media is already attempting to sabotage this new bloc but they will soon discover that they are dealing with a very different dynamic.
    This is huge. Attempts of the past have not carried this type of firepower. Italy and Poland are two of the six largest in the EU.

    Salvini has easily eclipsed a shrinking Emmanuel Macron to emerge as a powerful leader in Europe and his party continues to surge in the polls. The PiS controls the government of Poland, which is an emerging political and economic power in Europe.

    The League and PiS would create a powerful bloc led by an energetic leader who possesses the natural ability to attract others to the cause. The Eurocrats and their mercenaries in the media are somewhat shocked, already on the defensive.

    Sputnik: On 9 January, Warsaw and Rome agreed on strengthening the European Union's external border. How can these changes be implemented?

    Bill Ravotti: Well, Salvini has already implemented these changes in Italy. He has virtually closed the ports and the number of migrants who crossed the central Mediterranean in 2018 to reach Italy fell by 80% to just over 23,000, the lowest figure since 2012.

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    While Poland has been strong, it will need to strengthen its border with Belarus. There have been reports of increasing attempts by illegal migrants to enter Poland to get to Germany. Poland will have to concentrate on this area while allowing Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Croatia and Slovenia (the Central European Defence Cooperation Group) to defend the southern flank.

    The weak points are Greece, Spain and Cyprus, but their current leaders lack the will to defend the border. This is why it's vital that others reject the migrant transfers from Greece or Spain while sealing off their borders from the migrants waived-through by Greece.

    Sputnik: Matteo Salvini declared that Poland and Italy should replace the influence of Germany and France in Europe. What is the likelihood of this happening?

    Bill Ravotti: With the clout and influence of Salvini and the PiS, they will become the counterweight to Paris and Berlin, although I think France's influence is vastly overrated.

    The main question pertains to Viktor Orban of Hungary. How long will he continue to waste his efforts with Manfred Weber, Angela Merkel and Andrej Plenkovic in the EPP? Like the CSU in Germany, many in the EPP have a vested interest in expanding the power and scope of Brussels.

    Orban's true allies are Salvini, Poland and the FPO [Austria]…not EPP turncoats who voted with Guy Verhofstadt and Green radical Judith Sargentini to punish Hungary.

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    Regardless of Orban's current association with the EPP, he will fight with Salvini and the PiS on the major issue. I believe Orban's time with the EPP is coming to an end. It's not a matter of if but when.

    There will be others parties in Slovakia, Bulgaria, France and even Belgium attracted to the cause.

    Sputnik: What are the chances that the forces opposing migration will get a majority in the European Parliament, the European Commission and, finally, the European Council? What is your opinion on the future of Europe's right-wing movement in general?

    Bill Ravotti: There will not be immediate majorities because many in Western Europe still believe in mass migration, multiculturalism and the EU superstate. However, the anti-migration forces will make major gains, enough to thwart the agenda of the EU Federalists.

    We have no confidence with any of the current candidates running for president of the EU Commission.

    Sputnik: Orban once stated that there are two opposing sides in Europe: a mixed Christian-Muslim civilisation and a Christian-democratic one. How do you see the balance of forces in Europe developing in the near future?

    Bill Ravotti: In the long run, with such conflicting values and bitter differences between regions, we do not think the EU superstate will survive as it is. We have no timetables, but believe the future will consist of smaller, less-intrusive regional alliances that better reflect the values and beliefs of its people.

    The Three Seas Initiative involving Central-Eastern European states would be an example of such an alliance, but it needs time to develop.

    The original EU Core [minus Italy] and many other parts of the West EU may beyond the point of no return. Once multicultural societies are established, they are hard to break.

    Other smaller coalitions may develop with the Nordic countries or others, but we see the EU as a much smaller club in the future.

    Sputnik: Hungarian PM Viktor Orban has called Macron the leader of pro-immigration forces in Europe and vowed to fight him and what he stands for. Whose political rhetoric will end up gaining more followers?

    Bill Ravotti: In 2015, Orban alone challenged Angela Merkel and Brussels on migration. Since then, Poland is now governed by allies of Orban, and more nation-states, including Austria, Italy and others in CEE have joined his cause. Pro-migration advocates are not winning any new converts.

    Regarding Macron, his era appears to be over before it even started. Macron was adamant that Visegrad accept EU migrant quotas but was forced to back down [from] Orban during a meeting with the group at a June summit. The result: no mandatory EU quotas.

    A few weeks ago, Macron visited Slovakia in an attempt to divide Visegrad again by trying to convince Slovakia to sign the UN Migration Compact, but all four Visegrad states rejected the Compact.

    Matteo Salvini is not only ignoring Macron’s lectures on migration, but is mocking the French president.

    In my opinion, Macron is not a natural leader who can command respect outside of Brussels. Not only is Macron no match for either Orban or Salvini, but there was never any “EU Solidarity” for open-borders, mass migration or multiculturalism.

    Some Eurocrats have instead advised Macron to try to focus on Le Pen and Wilders (two opponents with much less clout) regarding this battle, but this will not be possible now with Salvini and PiS assuming leadership roles.

    As I pointed out earlier, this new coalition is something that pro-Brussels forces have not had to face before. While Orban does things his own way and may stay with the EPP, most realize that his true allegiance is with Salvini, the PiS and FPO.

    Moreover, France has promoted multiculturalism and Muslim migration for decades and they continue to struggle with integration, as do many others in the Western EU. Their failed model is not something many in Central and Eastern Europe wish to emulate.

    Orban has definitely won the battles to date and his movement is continuing to gain strength.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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