Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is leading an effort to create a pan-European populist alliance to challenge the pro-European establishment over the future of the European Union. The aim is to reclaim sovereignty from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels and transfer key EU powers back to national capitals.
Germany and France, the self-appointed guardians of European integration, are responding to the challenge with an ambitious counterplan to make the European Union a “more decisive power on the world stage.”
The showdown, which threatens to split the European Union down the middle between Eurosceptic nationalists and Europhile globalists, will heat up in coming weeks and months, ahead of elections for the European Parliament in late May 2019.
During a visit to Warsaw on January 9, Salvini, now the most powerful politician in Italy, said that populists from Italy and Poland should spark a “European spring” and forge a “new equilibrium” to replace the influence of Germany and France in the European Parliament: