Italy emerges as ground zero for European extremist populism

WireAP_a01cec0ff400485a892f7a2d3ff8a97f_12x5_992Source: Associated Press

By COLLEEN BARRY

MILAN (AP) — Italy’s populist interior minister is uniting Europe’s right-wing parties under an anti-migrant, anti-Islam, anti-bureaucracy banner for this month’s European Union elections, pledging to reshape the continent from its technocratic heart in the EU’s base in Brussels.

The latest target of Matteo Salvini’s wooing: Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban. The two bonded over a shared vision for a Europe with sturdy borders during a visit to Hungary by Salvini that included a tour of razor-wire fences Orban had built in 2015 to keep out asylum-seekers.

Frans Timmerman, a Dutch politician who is second in command of the EU’s executive arm and running to be elected president, called the Salvini-Orban meeting “a love scene … based on family values but which means discrimination.”

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