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Malta refutes Salvini's claim of unfulfilled promise to take in migrants

Malta refutes Salvini's claim of unfulfilled promise to take in migrants

Salvini's League, one of two parties in Italy's ruling coalition, and Kaczynski's governing Law and Justice party in Poland are both staunchly anti-migrant and often criticize how the European Union functions now.

Far-right Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Wednesday said populists from Italy and Poland should spark a "European spring" to replace the centre-right influence of Germany and France, as the EU prepares for key elections.

Salvini's planned meeting with Polish ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski is being watched as an early sign of whether the Italian firebrand can effectively mount a nationalist challenge at the European level.

In a statement, the government said that several days prior to this most recent case which saw 49 migrants stranded at sea for 19 days before an agreement was reached, Malta had coordinated the first example of intra-EU voluntary reallocation from the Lifeline vessel.

Salvini, fellow deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, held talks late into the night on Wednesday.

A leading commentator for the Rzeczpospolita daily, Michal Szuldrzynski, said he believed that Salvini heard more about what divides the League and Law and Justice than what unites them during the visit.

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"Kaczynski showed that he doesn't want to be a part of a euroskeptic alliance under the patronage of the Kremlin", Szuldrzynski wrote in Thursday's paper. He voiced hopes that the Polish and Italian governments can play a guiding role in a European nationalist surge.

"The Europe that will be born in June will have a different pace compared to the one of today, which is guided by bureaucrats", said Mr Salvini, who is also Italy's interior minister, speaking alongside his Polish counterpart, Joachim Brudzinski.

"There should be a Rome-Warsaw axis, which is able to govern, is responsible and is against immigration and is willing to work together with the anti-immigration forces within the EPP", Orban said.

Brussels demanded Rome lower its budget deficit target for 2019, from 2.4 per cent, while France's prime minister said in December that Paris will likely have a deficit of 3.2 per cent this year.

His aim, Salvini said, is to build "a common alliance of who wants to save Europe". Salvini's visit is seen as sounding out a possible alliance with Poland's ruling EU-skeptic party ahead of spring elections for the European Parliament.