01:34 GMT +317 October 2018
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    Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. File photo

    Salvini Blasts Juncker Over 'Ruining' Europe and Italy

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    In early July, Matteo Salvini, the Italian Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the country's right-wing Lega Party, signaled his readiness to create a pan-European network of nationalist parties which could obtain an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament.

    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.

    READ MORE: Italian Right-Wing Parties to Take Part in Election as Single Bloc — Salvini

    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.

    READ MORE: Salvini Scorns EU Plan to Pay Countries 6,000 Euros for Every Rescued Migrant

    According to him, the organization could bring together "all the free and sovereign movements that want to defend their people and their borders."

    Eurosceptic and right-wing parties have made gains across the EU in recent years following the open-door migration policy initiated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which in turn led to an unprecedented influx of migrants into the bloc, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa.

    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.

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    Tags:
    country, officials, elections, Lega Party, European Commission, Pierre Moscovici, Jean-Claude Juncker, Matteo Salvini, Italy
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