Matteo Salvini predicts clear-out of mainstream MEPs

STRASBOURG — Matteo Salvini has a message for the European Parliament — we’re coming for this place and we won’t take any prisoners.

The League party leader and potential future prime minister of Italy delivered his tirade against the established mainstream EU parties in the heart of the Strasbourg Parliament.

Once in power, Salvini said he would bring back “a bit of normality” to the European Union and roll back Euro-federalism. European citizens, he said, “will bring back their identity, their countries, their territories to Strasbourg,” in the 2019 election — at which his party is again expected to have a strong showing.

“Next year, finally, there won’t be any longer the axis formed by conservatives and social democrats,” he told journalists at a press conference which also included Marcel de Graaf, Harald Vilimsky and Nicolas Bay, other members of the Eurosceptic European of Nations and Freedom (ENL) to which the League is affiliated.

“It will be a wonderful year,” he said.

The League won 17 percent of the vote in Italy’s general election earlier this month and as part of a coalition with center-right parties has 37 percent — not far off the 40 percent threshold necessary to form a government. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he would back Salvini if he attempts to form a government.

Salvini blamed EU policies, which “increased public deficit at historical heights,” turned “precariousness into law,” and led significant Italian companies to lose control at the detriment of foreign multinationals.

He said the revision of EU treaties would be a “priority” and he defended his flagship idea of setting up a “flat tax” in Italy. “It exists in seven countries so nobody in Berlin, Brussels, or Frankfurt can tells us, ‘No, you can’t,’ because others do it,” he said.

He also reiterated that with the League in power, “there will be fewer landings, and more expulsions,” of immigrants because “Europe can’t be reduced to a huge refugee camp.”

Salvini paid tribute to the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria for “what they have obtained in government in recent months,” and argued that Austria was “a model and a path to follow” for his party.  The party entered a government coalition in October of last year.

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