Headlining the event was Itay’s Deputy Prime Minister and de-facto leader Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen of France’s National Rally (RN). The Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) voting bloc, led by two populist leaders, is expected to become Brussel’s third largest party following the election.
Parties within the ENF voting bloc all share the broad goals of returning power to EU member states, putting an end to mass immigration, and stopping the spread of Islam in Europe.
Germany’s Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), the Freedom Party (PVV) of the Netherlands, Slovakia’s Sme Rodina, and Bulgaria’s Volya were among the national populist parties in attendance.
After taking to the stage amid a roaring crowd of thousands of nationalist supporters at the Piazza del Duomo in Milan, Salvini asserted that “There are no extremists, racists or fascists in this square… The extremists are those who have governed Europe for the past 20 years.”
Salvini called out Merkel, Macron, George Soros, and Juncker as being extremists leaders who have betrayed Europe “in the name of finance, of multinationalism, of money and uncontrolled immigration.”
“Together we are building the future, there is no far-right here, there is just politics of common sense,” Salvini continued.
During his speech, the Italian leader described Europe as “one of the most beautiful dreams hypothesized by the founding fathers. The Europe of nations and people, of which De Gasperi, De Gaulle, and Margaret Thatcher talked about.”
Following Salvini, France’s National Leader Marine took to the stage, saying to the euphoric crowd that, “This is a historic moment…we say no to this immigration which has submerged our nations, putting our people at risk.”
Notably absent from the rally was Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party. Orbán hasn’t been shy to express publicly his support for and admiration of Salvini. Orbán has even promised “cooperation” after the vote, but thus far has yet to join the ENF voting bloc.
Poland’s governing right-wing populist PiS (Law and Justice party) also did not attend the rally.
In an interview on the Buck Sexton Show with former editor-in-chief at Breitbart News, Raheem Kassam – now Global Editor-in-Chief of Human Events – Donald Trump’s former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon predicted that national populist parties across the European continent could very well end up with thirty to thirty-five percent of the EU Parliament seats.
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which staunchly advocates for the U.K. to leave the European Union, is expected to win over 35 percent of the British vote.
Meanwhile, it’s projected that support for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (23.5 percent) will eclipse that of President Emmanuel Macron’s REM party. In the case that her party does in fact garner more support than Macron’s, Le Pen has called on the French president to step down from his post.
By the end of this week, Matteo Salvini’s League party expected to emerge as Italy’s largest party with 32 percent of the vote. The party could also end up being the largest single party in the European parliament.
Germany’s AfD is expected to pick up about 12% the vote.