French President Emmanuel Macron has seen his popularity plummet in France as the so-called Yellow Vest movement sparked a near state of emergency. Widescale violent demonstrations have been held for the last three weekends in what started as protests over rising fuel tax but what has now become a movement against Mr Macron’s pereived elitist policies. In an interview with Politico, Mr Salvini criticised his political adversary, who he has repeatedly come to blows with over the country’s immigration policy, warning that Italy would no longer tolerate being treated as the “refugee camp of Europe”.
Asked if Mr Macron was still his enemy following months of bitter rows, Mr Salvini quipped: “Not anymore.
“Macron is not a problem for me, Macron is a problem for French people.”
The right-wing politician and leader of the La Lega told Politico the EU was at risk of being “destroyed” following six months of heated battles with the European Union, over bloc wide policies such as immigration, tax and control of laws.
Mr Salvini praised the EU’s efforts of fighting organised crime and illegal immigration – and claimed his government was doing its best to “save” the continent.
Speaking in Brussels he said: “I believe in Europe. It was a fantastic dream that is on the verge of being destroyed.
“We’re going to do our best to save Europe.”
However, the outspoken politician denied he would become involved in EU wide politics in Brussels, saying: “I don’t have time to organise the European election of next year.”
The change of tone comes after Rome decided to wind back its spending plans, in order to avoid disciplinary action by the European Commission (EC) over its GDP targets.
Italy’s coalition government proposed running a controversial 2.4 percent deficit in 2019 – but the EU threatened to slap the country with €9billion (£8billion) in sanctions.
The initial budget deficit proposal had raised eyebrows in Brussels, where officials announced fears Italy could spark the end of the eurozone if I went through with the targets.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said at the G20 summit in Argentina: “We didn’t discuss numbers but we’re working on a solution — which is both in Italy’s and the EU’s interest — to avoid the excessive deficit procedure. We’re in the same boat.”