Matteo Salvini

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Matteo Salvini

Matteo Salvini (born March 9, 1973[1]) is an Italian politician. The leader of Lega Nord, he served as his country's Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister from June 2018 to September 2019. Salvini holds strong national conservative views.


Salvini was born on March 9, 1973, in Milan.[1] While originally having communist leanings, Salvini moved politically to the Right as time went on.[2] Prior to becoming the federal secretary of Lega Nord, Salvini served in several positions, including in the Milan City Council, the Italian parliament, and the European Parliament.[1] As Lega Nord's leader, he expanded the party's appeal outside Northern Italy, even renaming the party to "The League".[3][4] While Lega Nord was in serious trouble when he became party leader in 2013, Salvini significantly grew the party to become the country's dominant political force by 2018 through focusing on a nationalist and populist agenda similar to that of U.S. President Donald Trump.[5]

Salvini is known for his effective use of social media.[6]

Interior Minister

In the 2018 general election, The League made massive gains, quadrupling its vote share. It performed so well that it became the dominant party in its coalition,[7] and Salvini had a very real chance of becoming Italy's prime minister.[8] Ultimately, Salvini became Italy's interior minister – giving him control over the country's immigration policy – as well as its deputy prime minister under a coalition government with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.[9]

Salvini immediately went to work advancing his conservative immigration agenda as Italy's interior minister, visiting an immigration camp in Sicily soon after being sworn in.[10] Shortly afterward, he released his three-point immigration plan, which involved building more repatriation centers, reducing illegal immigration, and increasing deportations.[11] Salvini showed he was serious about securing Italy's borders by refusing to let a boat carrying over 600 migrants land in the country due to it sharing an undue immigration burden,[12] and he said he would continue such actions.[13] In July 2018, Salvini blocked a private Italian ship carrying migrants from docking.[14] By the end of 2018, migrant ships stopped their activities because of Italian pressure.[15] Overall, Salvini was able to advance his conservative agenda.[16] By July 2018, he was Italy's most trusted politician, based on polling data.[17] Through his conservative policies, Salvini promoted traditional Christian values.[18]

Among other actions, Salvini pushed to strengthen Italy's self-defense laws to allow citizens to defend their homes from intruders.[19] He ordered that benefits for asylum seekers be massively reduced.[20] In August 2018, he would change identification forms to list one's "mother" and "father", rather than "parent one" and "parent two."[21] In September 2018, Salvini signed a decree which, among other actions, would ban residency permits for humanitarian reasons, increase funding for deportation centers, and removed citizenship from terrorists.[22] Salvini also took steps to expand the deportation of illegal migrants.[23] He announced in November 2018 that the coalition government would not sign the UN Global Compact on Migration.[24] In 2018, illegal sea landings fell 80%, with Salvini's policies likely affecting that figure,[25] and migrant deportations increased 28% in Salvini's first six months in power.[26] As illegal immigration to Italy significantly fell, it doubled for Spain.[27] Migration levels continued to dramatically fall,[28] something confirmed by Frontex data.[29] In May 2019, Salvini planned a decree to fine migrant boats €5,500 for each migrant they transport to Italy,[30] and the following month, he formally issued the decree which also included measures protecting the police.[31] Notably, Salvini began enforcing the law immediately after coming into force, countering a left-wing German migrant captain's attempts to abet illegal immigration to Italy.[32] Because of funding cuts on pro-migrant organizations that Salvini enacted, those organizations laid off thousands of workers.[33] In July 2019, Salvini closed what had been the largest migrant center in Europe.[34]

Even the M5S's founder and former League opponent, Beppe Grillo, praised Salvini for his tough stance on migrants.[35]

Salvini and the League promoted gun rights as interior minister,[36][37] and in March 2019, the Italian legislature passed a self-defense law he supported.[38] He took a confrontational stance toward the European Union.[39] In April 2019, Salvini announced he would increase police oversight of Islamic cultural centers.[40] Helped by Italy's Supreme Court, Salvini worked to strengthen regulations against cannabis in Italy.[41]

Under Salvini's leadership, crime levels fell an average of 15% from 2018 to 2019.[42] In July 2019, Italy began increased border security patrols along its border with Slovenia because of increased illegal immigration levels.[43] Salvini worked to evict migrant illegally living in abandoned buildings.[44]

In the May 2019 European Parliament elections, which Salvini put much effort into, the League performed very strongly, becoming the largest party in Italy with over 34% of the vote and one of the largest parties in the parliament.[45] The League performed particularly well in small towns and areas most affected by the migrant crisis.[46] Salvini launched a European Parliament group Identity and Democracy.[47]

On August 8, 2018, Salvini called for new elections due to significant policy disagreements with the more liberal M5S.[48] His pulling out of the coalition backfired, with the M5S agreeing to pursue an alliance with the far-left Italian Democratic Party.[49] Conte announced the leftist cabinet on September 4, 2019, and they were sworn in the following day, ending Salvini's tenure in the government.[50]

In opposition

The new Democrat–M5S coalition began reinstating status-quo, open borders immigration policies,[51] and Salvini and the League strongly criticized the new coalition and its globalist policies.[52] Salvini also became Italy's most trusted political leader.[53] On October 27, 2019, the League secured a historic election victory in the Italian region of Umbria, taking control of the state which had previously been only controlled by center-left, left-wing, and far-left parties.[54]

Political positions

Salvini with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, June 2019

Salvini is a Euroskeptic[55] who also supported leaving the Euro[56] and who opposes Turkish membership in the EU.[57] He supports putting the Italian people first when making policy, as opposed to advancing globalist ideals.[58] As Deputy Prime Minister, he has called for remaining in the EU and changing it from the inside.[59] He is also a critic of compulsory vaccination,[60] and he has criticized the concept of surrogate motherhood as a threat to the traditional family.[61] Salvini takes relatively conservative positions on social issues and supports the pro-family World Congress of Families.[62] Salvini takes tough-on-crime positions and, along with other members of the League, supports the chemical castration of rapists.[63]

Salvini also takes a strong position against mass migration and Islam,[64] and he supports strong border security actions.[56][65] He has called for supporting Italian families and increasing the native birthrate rather than supporting migrants.[66] He also supports enacting tariffs on foreign products.[67] A strong supporter of Donald Trump,[68] Salvini met him in 2016 while Trump was still a presidential candidate.[69] When President Trump decided to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Salvini stated that he is in favor of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,[70] and he is a supporter of Israel in general.[71] Salvini also has formed alliances with Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands,[7][72] and he has expressed a desire for creating a Europe-wide coalition of patriotic parties.[73] Salvini also has a strong relationship with Viktor Orbán of Hungary,[74] who complimented his policies' effects,[75] and he has similar views as Poland's Jarosław Kaczyński.[76] Salvini takes a relatively positive stance toward Brexit and has criticized the EU for its stance against the UK.[77] He has criticized liberal globalists, including Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, and the EU's leadership for their policies.[78] Because of Salvini's criticisms, along with those from other Italian leaders, France recalled its ambassador to Italy in February 2019.[79]

Salvini takes a skeptical stance on China's Belt and Road Initiative, warning against foreign companies "colonizing Italy."[80] He has also called for protecting "sensitive" Italian data from China.[81]

Unlike other Italian politicians, Salvini is not afraid of mixing his Christian profession with his politics.[82]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Matteo Salvini. European Parliament. March 4, 2018. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  2. Binnie, Isla; Scherer, Steve (March 7, 2018). Matteo Salvini, the everyman leader of Italy's populist revolt. Reuters. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  3. Kirchgaessner, Stephanie; Tondo, Lorenzo (February 28, 2018). Matteo Salvini extends Northern League's appeal as far south as Sicily. The Guardian. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  4. Balmer, Crispian (February 9, 2018). Italy's League leaves northern bastions, bangs anti-migrant drum. Reuters. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  5. Lyman, Eric J. (June 4, 2018). Matteo Salvini expands clout of Italy's League by stealing page from Trump's immigration playbook. The Washington Times. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  6. Multiple references: See also:
  7. 7.0 7.1 Multiple references:
  8. Birnbaum, Michael; Pitrelli, Stefano (March 6, 2018). Matteo Salvini could be Western Europe's first far-right leader since 1945. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  9. Multiple references: See also:
  10. Multiple references: See also:
  11. Williams, Thomas D. (June 7, 2018). Italy Minister Salvini Announces 3-Point Immigration Program. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  12. Multiple references: See also:
  13. Multiple references: See also:
  14. For the first time, Italy prevents a private Italian ship from docking with rescued migrants. The Local. July 10, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  15. Legorano, Giovanni (December 7, 2018). Cowed Aid Agencies Cease Migrant Rescues in the Mediterranean. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  16. Legorano, Giovanni (June 29, 2018). Italy’s Salvini Puts Roadblocks in Migrants’ Way While Reaching Out to Fellow European Populists. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  17. Williams, Thomas D. (July 4, 2018). Poll: Populist Salvini the Most Trusted Politician in Italy. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  18. Hoffman, Matthew Cullinan (May 30, 2019). Italy’s Matteo Salvini returning to European Union’s ‘Christian roots’: Cdl Mueller. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  19. Tomlinson, Chris (June 28, 2018). Italian Gun Ownership on the Rise as Populist Salvini Offers Stronger Self-Defence Laws. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  20. Tomlinson, Chris (July 27, 2018). Italy Slashes Asylum Seeker Benefit Payments. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  21. Multiple references:
  22. Multiple references:
  23. Tomlinson, Chris (November 1, 2018). Salvini Announces New Plan to Deport at Least 2,700 Illegal Migrants from Italy. Breitbart News. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  24. Tomlinson, Chris (November 29, 2018). Populist Italian Government Latest to Back Out of UN Migration Pact. Breitbart News. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  25. Friedman, Victoria (December 6, 2018). Italy Cuts Illegal Migration Sea Landings by 80 Per Cent. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
    See also:
  26. Hale, Virginia (December 18, 2018). Italy’s Migrant Crackdown: Expulsions up, Squatter Camps Cleared. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  27. Spain replaces Italy as Europe's main destination for migrant crossings. Reuters. January 4, 2019. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
    See also:
  28. Multiple references:
  29. Tomlinson, Chris (February 21, 2019). EU Border Agency Confirms Salvini’s Populist Migrant Policies Working. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  30. Multiple references:
  31. Multiple references: See also:
  32. Multiple references: See also:
  33. Tomlinson, Chris (June 11, 2019). Italian Pro-Migrant Groups Facing 15,000 Job Losses After Salvini Cuts. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  34. Multiple references:
  35. Tomlinson, Chris (June 28, 2018). Italian Five Star Movement Founder Grillo Backs Populist Salvini as a Man Who Gets Things Done. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  36. Johanningsmeier, Emma (November 7, 2018). Italy Loosens Gun Laws as Matteo Salvini Polishes His Tough Guy Image. The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  37. Hawkins, Awr (March 17, 2019). Italy Eyes Stand Your Ground-Style Law for Lethal Firearm Use. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  38. Multiple references:
  39. Amaro, Silvia (March 22, 2019). Italy is side-lining itself from the EU. And its populist deputy leader stands to benefit. CNBC. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  40. Tomlinson, Chris (April 26, 2019). Salvini Demands Security Services Increase Observation of Islamic Cultural Centres. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  41. Italy court cracks down on cannabis shops in win for Salvini. Reuters. May 30, 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  42. Tomlinson, Chris (May 7, 2019). Crime Down 15 Percent Under Salvini Interior Ministry. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  43. Multiple references:
  44. Multiple references:
  45. Multiple references: See also:
  46. Multiple references:
  47. Tomlinson, Chris (June 14, 2019). Salvini Launches New ‘Identity and Democracy’ Populist EU Group. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  48. Multiple references: See also:
  49. Multiple references: See also:
  50. Multiple references:
  51. Multiple references: See also:
  52. Multiple references: See also:
  53. Multiple references:
  54. Multiple references: See also:
  55. Deacon, Liam (January 20, 2018). Italian Election Favourite Blasts Brussels: ‘The EU Can Go F*ck Itself’. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  56. 56.0 56.1 Montgomery, Jack (January 6, 2018). Italy’s Lega Nord Commits to Leaving the Euro, Tripling Deportations, and Securing the Border. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
    However, Salvini later stated he would not leave the Euro:
  57. Hale, Virginia (April 8, 2019). Salvini: Turkey ‘Has Nothing to Do with Europe’, Will ‘Never Enter EU on Our Watch’. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  58. Binnie, Isla (February 24, 2018). League leader pledges to put Italians first as election campaign intensifies. Reuters. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  59. Multiple references:
  60. Politi, James (June 22, 2018). Salvini ramps up rhetoric with attack on mandatory vaccines. Financial Times. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  61. Williams, Thomas D. (March 18, 2019). Matteo Salvini Blasts Surrogacy: Womb for Rent ‘Makes Me Sick’. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  62. Tomlinson, Chris (March 19, 2019). Salvini Pro-Family Congress Attendance Sparks Italy Coalition Conflict. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
    See also:
  63. Multiple references:
  64. Multiple references:
  65. Multiple references:
  66. Multiple references: See also:
  67. Koukakis, Nasos (March 2, 2018). Not all Europeans hate Trump's tariff policy — Italy's far-right PM candidate loves it. CNBC. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  68. Williams, Thomas D. (November 7, 2018). ‘Go, Donald, Go!’: Italy’s Salvini Congratulates Trump on Midterms. Breitbart News. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
    See also: Salvini supported President Trump's re-election in 2020:
  69. Multiple references:
  70. Momigliano, Anna (July 23, 2018). For Many Italian Jews, Far-right Parties No Longer Getting a Pass for Being pro-Israel. Haaretz. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  71. Kent, Simon (December 12, 2018). Italy’s Salvini Slams E.U. for ‘Unbalanced’ Approach to Israel. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  72. Mcintosh, Jane (March 6, 2018). Who are Italy's two leading populist parties: Five Star Movement and the League? Deutsche Welle. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  73. Multiple references:
  74. Multiple references: The two formed an alliance with each other: See also:
  75. Multiple references:
  76. Multiple references:
  77. Montgomery, Jack (September 14, 2018). Salvini: Italy on Britain’s Side in Brexit Negotiations, EU has Anti-Democratic Habits, Desire to Punish. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  78. Multiple references: See also:
  79. Multiple references:
  80. Follain, John (March 11, 2019). Salvini Warns Against ‘Colonizing Italy’ Before China Accord. Bloomberg. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
    See also:
  81. Italy's Salvini says China cannot be in control of sensitive data. Reuters. May 20, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  82. Winfield, Nicole (August 22, 2019). Italian populist mixes religious symbols with his politics. Associated Press. Retrieved August 22, 2019.