Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who is also the country's Interior Minister and leader of right-wing Lega Party, has blamed high-ranking officials from the European Commission for destroying Europe.
"People like [European Commission President Jean-Claude] Juncker and [EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre] Moscovici have ruined Europe and our country [Italy]. We are trying to change this Europe from the inside and we hope that the May European elections will give us a hand. If not, things will be very difficult," Salvini said.
The statement came about a month after Salvini lashed out at Moscovici's comments about the emergence of "little Mussolinis" in Europe amid fears that its territory is being taken over by nationalist leaders.
"He should wash his mouth out before insulting Italy, the Italians and their legitimate government," Salvini noted.
Speaking to Lega Party supporters in the Italian town of Pontida on July 1, Salvini indicated his intent to establish the "League of the Leagues of Europe," a pan-European network of nationalist parties.
According to him, the organization could bring together "all the free and sovereign movements that want to defend their people and their borders."
In late May, the right-wing League and the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement formed a coalition in Italy, the EU's third-largest economy. Since then, the new government has adopted a hardline stance on migration and prompted a diplomatic row in the EU after Salvini barred NGO-operated migrant rescue vessels from Italian ports.