Marine chooses Matteo. Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far-right National Rally party, said she is “closer” to Matteo Salvini, leader of the League in Italy, than to Giorgia Meloni, Italian Prime Minister and head of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party.
- “We all support Ukraine, but I reject the delivery of offensive weapons” to Kyiv, she said in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
- She did add that a Russian victory would be “a catastrophe”.
Diverging views… “We have differences with [PM] Meloni,” continued Ms Le Pen, noting that “despite this, I prefer her to her predecessor” Mario Draghi. “Besides, you know: politics turn fast in Italy.”
- The French politician would take a harder line on migration control. “I want to give myself the tools for a deterrent policy on immigration,” she told Repubblica, by means of a constitutional reform to limit social assistance, reserve family allowances for the French, and abolishing ius soli (birthright citizenship).
… and united Eurosceptics. Chiefly, Ms Le Pen and Mr Salvini converge on the States’ relationship with the European Union. “I remain Eurosceptic,” explained the French politician, saying she is “convinced that France must leave the NATO integrated command” and that Ms Meloni “favours NATO because she is Italian.”
- “There are parts of her project that I do not share. Politically I feel closer to Matteo Salvini and do not adapt my speech to the election results: I am a loyal person,” she added.
- Her party, National Rally, is a member of the Eurosceptic and populist Identity and Democracy Party (ID), along with Mr Salvini’s League and Alternative for Germany (AfD). Marco Zanni, a League MEP, leads ID.
True Finns flocked to Meloni’s ECR. Last week, the rightwing Finns Party changed its European Parliament allegiance, announcing its switch from the Identity and Democracy (ID) group to the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), headed by Meloni.
- The Finns Party emerged as one of the three winners of the April 2 elections – essentially tying with the other two frontrunners – and has a real shot of entering a coalition government led by Antti Petteri Orpo’s liberal-conservative National Coalition.
- According to the party’s statement, the “radical change in Finland’s security policy” caused by the Russian war against Ukraine – and resulting in the country joining NATO this week – has led the party to “reexamine [its] international cooperation networks.”