Marine Le Pen, who leads the National Rally’s parliamentary faction in France, joined her Italian ally Matteo Salvini during a rally in Italy where she slammed Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni over her handling of Italy’s raging immigration crisis.
“(There is) trouble, trouble for those leaders who don’t realize there are signs of alarm and danger from the massive arrival of migrants on Lampedusa. An island of 6,000 people, where more than 6,000 migrants arrived in a single day — trouble for the population in which the leaders don’t take action immediately to face this giant challenge,” said Le Pen. Although Le Pen never mentions Meloni by name, the Associated Press characterized the comments as a “swipe” at Meloni during the rally in Pontida, Italy, where thousands gathered to watch Le Pen and Salvini, leader of the Leauge party, speak.
However, in even more shocking terminology, Le Pen referred to Meloni and what she described as “cowardice,” saying that there are those leaders “who justify their cowardice by claiming there is no alternative.”
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It is not the first time that Le Pen has lambasted Meloni. Last June, Le Pen said that she recognized Meloni was “hindered” by the budget situation in her country, but that according to Le Pen, “everything is a question of political will.”
With Italy’s borrowing costs soaring, some analysts are saying Meloni is at the mercy of the EU and, perhaps more importantly, the European Central Bank (ECB) to remain in power due to Italy’s delicate economic situation. Just last summer, yields on Italian debt were a mere 0.4 percent and have since jumped close to 4.4 percent and hovered there for months.
Nevertheless, many conservatives in Europe are beginning to sour on Meloni as well, with Hungarian media running critical stories on her handling of the migrant crisis.
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“We are defending our peoples against the flood of migrants”
Le Pen, who has long backed Salvini, told the audience that European parties must defend “our people, as Matteo (Salvini) did so brilliantly with courage and pugnacity when he had the power to do so (…) by dramatically reducing the number of migrants.”
Le Pen was directly referring to when Salvini served as minister of the interior (2018-2019) when he effectively brought migration to a standstill with his tough immigration policies.
France’s opposition leader referred to that time as a moment when “the whole of Europe looked towards Italy with admiration” due to the determination Salvini and his League party demonstrated.
After Salvini’s party fell from power in 2019, he became the target of a range of court cases that labeled his refusal to allow migrants to dock in Italian ports as a “kidnapping.” Despite the judges in the cases admitting they were bogus and a form of political retribution, the court trials continued to proceed until Salvini’s League came back into power with Meloni in a three-way coalition. However, the reality is that Salvini’s power within government is greatly diminished, and he holds a far inferior ministerial position to the interior minister position he once held.
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His position on migration also appears to have been rejected by Meloni, who toured Lampedusa on Sunday with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after 10,000 migrants landed on the island in just three days. While Meloni is championing the idea of a naval blockade to protect Europe’s borders, there are doubts whether the EU will ever back such a policy due to both legal restraints and the pro-migration ideology prevalent among the ruling left-liberals in Brussels.
In April, Le Pen also expressed her preference for Salvini, saying, “Politically, I feel closer to Matteo Salvini. I don’t adapt my speech to the election results: I am a loyal person.”
“I am not Meloni’s twin sister, I remain faithful to Salvini,” she added