Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini sees himself as the savior of Europe.
“I’m a normal person,” Salvini told POLITICO in an interview in which he spoke of the importance of the bloc and boasted of accomplishments in fighting organized crime and illegal migration.
“I believe in Europe. It was a fantastic dream that is on the verge of being destroyed,” Salvini said at the POLITICO 28 gala in Brussels. “We’re going to do our best to save Europe.”
Nevertheless, Salvini played down prospects of greater involvement in Brussels politics. “I don’t have time to organize the European election of next year,” he said.
The far-right Italian politician struck a conciliatory tone on Italy’s ongoing dispute with the EU over its budget, saying that although there has been conflict, “I hope Brussels has the same will for dialogue.”
He also expressed hope that the next European commissioner from Italy will get an economics portfolio.
When addressing Italy’s neighbor France, however, Salvini was dismissive. Asked whether French President Emmanuel Macron was his enemy, Salvini said “not anymore.”
“Macron is not a problem for me, Macron is a problem for French people,” he quipped.