Hungary’s national conservative Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, and the head of Italy’s extreme right, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, announced on Thursday in Budapest that they want to come together against immigration after May’s European elections. “We are clearly seeking cooperation with Mr. Salvini in a form that will need to be defined,” the Hungarian prime minister said at a joint press conference. I’m convinced Europe needs an alliance of anti-immigration parties.”
Orban and Salvini come from two different political families and two different groups in the European Parliament, but stressed that they have a common line on immigration.
They went together on Thursday to the border with Serbia, where they inspected the anti-migrant fence erected in 2015 at the initiative of the Hungarian Prime Minister, climbed up into a watchtower and flew over the fence in a helicopter.
Orban who is still a member of the right-wing European Popular Party (EPP), from which he has been suspended since March for making Europhobic statements, said he wished to see the EPP, to which Germany’s CDU also belongs, “cooperate with the anti-immigration parties.” Otherwise, “it will be difficult for us to find our place” within that party after 26 May, he added.
“It would be preferable for Europe for Orban and Salvini, not Macron, to be at the helm” on border control, he argued.
Salvini, who is the Italian number 2, the real strongman of the Italian government, and an ally of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France, aims to bring together a maximum of ultra-nationalist forces and form “the most important group” in the European Parliament after the 26 May elections.
Short of teaming up officially with Orban before the polls, he stressed that he wished to work with him in the future parliament. “For the first time in the history of the EU, a new majority can be formed leaving out the PPE and the Socialists,” he stressed.
Orban, who is scheduled to host Austria’s extreme-right Vice-Chancellor Heinz Christian Strache next week before heading to Washington for a visit to U.S. President Donald Trump on 13 May, had said last month that he also wished to move closer to Poland’s ruling conservative PiS party.
For his part, Salvini is organising a big European sovereignist meeting in Milan on 18 May. Orban has not yet said whether he intends to attend.