Italian conservatives will arrest immigration crisis by end of the current parliament, Lega MP Simone Billi tells Remix News

In an exclusive interview, Italian MP Simone Billi talks to Remix News about the upcoming EU elections, the migration crisis, and the dynamic within Italy's center-right coalition government

By Thomas Brooke
6 Min Read

Remix News’ sat down with Italian MP Simone Billi at the CPAC Hungary event in Budapest on Thursday, where Billi discussed the stance of Matteo Salvini’s Lega party on the ongoing migration crisis, how he feels the center-right coalition in Rome is faring, and why other conservatives across Europe appear to gravitate more towards his party leader than Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

How do you think Lega will perform in the European Parliament elections in June?

We are working to change the political direction in the European Parliament. For sure, it will not be easy and I don’t know if a new majority in the European Parliament will be different from the current one, but we are working to change the political strategy of the parliament away from the Green Deal and mass immigration.

French nationalist Marine Le Pen of the National Rally has been backing Lega over Brothers of Italy (FdI), the party led by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. She says she’s closer to Lega leader Matteo Salvini, who is someone she believes herself to be politically aligned with. Why do you think she is backing your party over Meloni’s?

The first thing that came to my mind is that now we, the center-right parties of Lega, FdI, and Forza Italia, are now in government and we are working very well together. We are working to reform Italy’s political strategy and we are very strong. But there is, for me, from my side, one big problem. The European Union and the European directives force our political strategy a lot. So, we need to apply the European directives and very often European directives are not in line with our political strategy. So, this is a big issue for us.

We need to work to win this European election because we need to change the European strategy, and we need to change the new European directives to be more aligned with the interests of Italians and the wider European population.

There has been a lot of criticism against Meloni about the number of immigrants coming into Italy. Has this reached the record high or close to the record high? Does Lega have any stance on this?

I think there are a lot of discussions and also some criticism on this basically because the mainstream, the global mainstream is not in our favor. The global mainstream for sure is strongly left-sided. So, these are the criticisms coming from the global mainstream. As I told you before, the Italian government is stronger. We are aligned. For sure, the Italian government is made up of three parties. We are not the same parties. So, let’s say there are some differences between us, but very few, and on the main strategies, the main political strategies we are perfectly aligned. But, as usual in a big coalition, there is a discussion. It’s, let’s say, the game of democracy as well. So, we discuss, but we are perfectly aligned.

During Matteo Salvini’s tenure as interior minister, he was very well known for stopping migrant boats, and afterward, he faced political prosecution in multiple courts and these court cases have not been entirely resolved. If he were to leave office, he would lose his immunity and be prosecuted once again. Has that prosecution influenced the stance of not stopping these boats this time around? Has the government been afraid of facing prosecution from what many would say are corrupt courts?

Yes. Let’s say, the number of boats has decreased this year by a lot. We cannot say that we completely stopped because this is not true, but it decreased a lot. The problem here, again, is with the European Commission, with the European Union. There is a strong misalignment between European countries regarding immigration. We work to try to be better aligned with immigration with all the European countries. For sure, this alignment at the moment is not in place, but we need to work together with all the other European countries. So, let’s say, step by step. The center-right government started in 2022. So, we still have about three years of work, and we are working to arrive at the end of this Italian parliamentary term with something stronger and with a solution. I don’t want to say it will be completely solved, but the problem will decrease a lot by the end of the legislature.

We have a uniform strategy for all the European countries. This is our target. Work together to solve the problem of immigration, together with the European countries, for sure.

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