Italian deputy PM Salvini calls Macron ‘danger’ for Europe

Italian deputy PM Salvini calls Macron ‘danger’ for Europe
Italian deputy PM Salvini calls Macron ‘danger’ for Europe

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - File photo of France’s President Emmanuel Macron at a press conference on the second and last day of the European Council summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on March 22, 2024. — AFP pic

ROME, March 24 — Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, accused French President Emmanuel Macron today of endangering Europe by refusing to rule out sending Western ground troops to Ukraine.

The comments by Salvini, whose far-right League party is a member of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s coalition government, came during a gathering in Rome of right-wing and nationalist European leaders to rally support ahead of EU parliamentary elections in June.

Macron’s suggestion last month that Western ground troops could be sent to Ukraine was “extremely dangerous, excessive and out of balance,” Salvini told the event organised by the European Parliament’s Identity and Democracy political group.

“I think that President Macron, with his words, represents a danger for our country and our continent,” Salvini said during his speech, which largely stressed conservative family values.

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“The problem isn’t mums and dads but the warmongers like Macron who talk about war as if there were no problem now,” he added.

“I don’t want to leave our children a continent ready to enter World War Three.”

Portugal’s Andre Ventura, leader of Portugal’s far-right party Chega that surged in a general election earlier this month, also spoke at the event, as did Harald Vilimsky of the Freedom Party of Austria and former US presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, among others.

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France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen did not personally attend, instead sending a video message.

The outspoken Salvini, who serves as transport minister, is a hardline populist whose comments have often landed him in hot water.

Earlier this month, he responded to the Russian election result by saying: “When a people vote, they are always right”.

Following the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny last month, he said it was “up to Russian doctors and judges” to determine the cause.

Salvini has previously expressed his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Macron’s comments last month in which he refused to rule out putting troops on the ground in Ukraine prompted a stern response from Berlin and other European partners. — AFP

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