The European Union faces an existential crisis and may crumble within the next 12 months, Italy's firebrand interior minister and deputy premier Matteo Salvini said in an interview published in English yesterday. Speaking to German news magazine Der Spiegel, Salvini said the EU summit in Brussels, likely to be dominated by rows over migration and the budget, would expose the bloc as being "more divided than ever."
"In the coming months, it will be decided if Europe still has a future in its current form or whether the whole thing has become futile," he said. "It's not just about the budget for the next seven years. Next year will see new European Parliament elections. Within one year, we will see if united Europe still exists or if it doesn't," he added. Salvini leads the far-right League party, and his European allies include Hungary's authoritarian premier Viktor Orban, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and Germany's anti-EU Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
A victory in EU parliamentary elections by these parties, at the expense of the mainstream Social Democrat (PES) and Christian Democrat (EPP) pan-European political groups, would trigger a major realignment in EU politics. In the Spiegel interview, Salvini also said he wants non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop rescuing migrants crossing the Mediterranean because "they support the migrant traffickers and boost the incentive to risk a crossing." Rescue work, he suggested, should instead be carried out by "the Libyan, Tunisian or Egyptian coastguards."
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