Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Salvini heads to Russian Federation, urges end of European Union sanctions

Matteo Salvini stands next to a sniper rifle during an event involving the state police SWAT team in Rome Matteo Salvini stands next to a sniper rifle during an event involving the state police SWAT team in Rome Credit Remo Casilli REUTERS
Deanna Wagner | 20 October, 2018, 18:45

Known for his Pro-Russian Deputy Prime Minister and interior Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini said that Ukraine is engaged in inciting a "religious war".

Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini denounced the "madness" of western sanctions against Russian Federation, during a trip to Moscow Wednesday, and launched a fierce attack on the European Union.

"Instead, the European Union was financing and courting Turkey, "...a country that has had a European country under military occupation for 44 years" while imposing sanctions against Russian Federation for its 2014 annexation of Crimea, he said.

The EU, meanwhile, asked the EIB to stop new financing operations in Russia and the EBRD suspended EU-Russia bilateral and regional cooperation programs. although its projects dealing exclusively with civil society were maintained.

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Italy has insisted on increasing its spending next year after releasing a controversial draft budget plan, despite European Union chiefs dismissing this as a breach to their rules. "I really believe that we should look for instruments and policies to be applied with putting this into consideration", Szijjarto said. Citing anonymous diplomats, Reuters said the new cybersanctions plan is meant to strengthen European Union defenses and deterrence against Russian cyberattacks, which have been at the center of recent allegations of election-meddling in various Western states.

Analysts say Rome is in a good bargaining position, given the Eurozone's ongoing difficulties with Brexit.

The stand-off between the anti-establishment populist government in Italy and the European Commission in Brussels is reaching a breaking point this week.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the League party, was quoted as saying he may consider running for the presidency of the European Commission at the next elections.