For the leader of the Northern League, selfies and greetings before the event. Long applause for Zaia, who tells the crowd: “The Lion is increasingly angry…”. Calderoli: “2024 year of autonomy”. Bossi absent, tribute to Maroni and Berlusconi
Marine Le Pen, leader of the Rassemblement National, took to the stage in Pontida together with the secretary of the League Matteo Salvini: “She is an ally but above all a friend in moments of victory and difficulty, and we have never changed our opinion”, the words used by Salvini before leaving her the floor.
“We are all engaged, you in Italy and we in France, in the same fight, for our freedoms, for our peoples. I know Italian friends how much you care about your freedoms and I know how much you care about the freedom of nations, this attachment to freedom that you characterizes you, honors you”, explains Le Pen, who in view of the next European elections, underlines how “Europe needs the League“. “Know, Italian friends of the League, that we need you, the Europe we want to build needs you, that the Europe we want to rebuild needs your energy, experience and determination. This determination will meet ours to make the true Europe triumph and make our continent a land on which our children will be happy to live” adds Le Pen before a few words in Italian with which he greets those present. “Long live Italy, long live the League, long live the Captain”.
“We defend our art of living, tradition, habits and customs, codes, gastronomy, in short our identity, we defend our families and our daughters from obscurantist threats” concludes Le Pen.
Le Pen adds: “We defend our ports, as Matteo did so brilliantly with so much courage and combativeness when he had the power to do so. Then the whole of Europe looked at Italy with admiration and we as allies were proud of Salvini and of the League. We wait for that moment to return for Italy but also for France, because woe to those leaders who do not realize the warning signs that the massive arrivals in Lampedusa represent“, she says from the stage, warning Italy and Europe against the “organized migratory wave today”, with the audience giving her more than one applause and the chorus ‘Le Pen, Le Pen’. “When there is a party like the League and a leader like Salvini, we know that it is the right choice, indeed the only possible choice”, he remarks.
And he continues, amidst the applause of the Northern League militants: “Woe to those peoples whose leaders do not take immediate action to meet this gigantic challenge, and to those who, to justify themselves, say that there is no alternative. You have demonstrated and embodied the political will that Europe needs, you have shown that there are still Europeans willing to defend our culture and our civilization.”
Upon her arrival, Salvini gave her the book ‘Fatti per Unite’ by Roberto Nicolucci, which illustrates some of the most famous bridges in the world in view of the creation of the stable connection between Calabria and Sicily. “I am happy to meet Matteo Salvini, who you are lucky enough to have as a leader and me as a friend. I am happy to be in Pontida, such a symbolic place, a symbol of resistance to external influences. And I believe that the parallel with what we will see in Europe is not exaggerated”, the words of Marine Le Pen.
In view of the next elections, the commitment is common “to respect the choices of freedom, the diversity of civilizations and the cultural riches of the world”, rejecting the vision of the EU Commission which translates into “less food, less energy, less industry and fewer children”, but also in a “reduction of our freedom to come, come, express ourselves, produce, be successful”, he adds.
SALVINI: THEY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DIVIDE ME FROM MELONS
“I thank a courageous woman like Marine Le Pen, who against everything and everyone represents the first party in France. And if we have to choose between Macron and Le Pen we will have no doubts. All my life with Marine Le Pen,” Salvini said of her, underlining that “we are determined and destined to win in Italy and Europebecause winning in the Regions and Municipalities, being in government in Italy, but having the left with its crazy policies disintegrate Europe would not be enough”.
Salvini then reiterated that “Matteo in Pontida and Giorgia in Lampedusa are the synthesis of a common goal and destiny. They won’t be able to divide us”. “Try to say that this splendid Pontida, with this human tide, will be a problem for the government. I say that the exact opposite is true: the League guarantees that this government will last for all 5 years which the Italians asked us to last. Not a minute less.”
The concept in another passage of the speech from the stage, which lasted over 40 minutes, was clarified with “a few words, because whatever I say someone is ready to look for the adverb that marks the distance between Pontida and Lampedusa”. With Giorgia Meloni “obviously – Salvini specified – we have different cultures, but the united centre-right wins in the municipalities, in the regions, in the national government and must also win in Europe”. In another passage of his speech, the Northern League leader added that “the League has every ambition that this government lasts not only the first mandate but also the second. Let’s book ten Pontidas with the League in government.”
“If in 2023 we celebrate a Pontida with a lot of people and the membership increases, it is because in the most difficult years the people of the League never gave up”, observed the leader of the Northern League, thanking the militants “one by one” and sending also a message to those who have left the League: “For one who leaves, ten better ones come closer. Greetings and kisses to those who have made other choices, we are the great League. You are the great League and for me you are life. Long live Pontida, long live the League and long live the defenders of all freedom. Let’s go and win my friends”, the conclusion of Salvini’s rally from the stage.
TRIBUTE TO MARONI, BERLUSCONI AND THE MISSING MILITANTS
Before the start of his rally from the Pontida stage, federal secretary Matteo Salvini addressed “a particular thought to two men in this extraordinary Pontida”. The first is Roberto Maroni, defined as “a more militant militant than the others, who was secretary of the League before and better than me. Pontida must honor a great Northern League player like Roberto Maroni. Always thank you, he is one of us and even today he is with us,” said Salvini.
The second tribute was for Silvio Berlusconi: “He never came to Pontida, but we discussed Pontida with him. He was not a League man but he was certainly a great friend of the League. Honor is the League’s affection for our friend Silvio Berlusconi,” exhorted Salvini and the crowd chanted ‘Silvio, Silvio’.
A video tribute remembered the militants. Among the people also remembered Maria Teresa Magliewhose image was greeted with great applause from the ‘pratone’.
Meanwhile, the absence of Umberto Bossi has been confirmed. The leader of the League remains in Gemonio with his family. Sources close to the Senatur, confirming the withdrawal of the founder of the League, do not fail to underline that no invitation to participate has been received from the old head of the Northern League.
LONG APPLAUSE FOR ZAIA
Long applause welcomed the arrival of the president of Veneto Luca Zaia on the Pontida stage. The ‘pratone’ honored him with a chorus of “Zaia, Zaia”, while numerous Veneto flags were waving.
“The League shows the way – he said from the stage, the League does not allow itself to be shown with respect to immigration policies and Europe cannot consider Lampedusa as an Italian border because it is a European problem. We are not racist, we are very clear that we need to welcome those fleeing from hunger, we are worrying.”
“Hospitality must be dignified, we must also think that we have our own local population who need answers and not who arrive after everyone else. Italy cannot deal with this issue alone, relocation at a European level cannot help us they are” adds the Northern League governor who recalls how when the Venetians emigrated “they didn’t fill the prisons, but they went to work”..
“Von der Leyen can go to Lampedusa but remember that she must also return home to solve the problem,” the governor then said.
“We no longer say the Bulgarian vote, but the Venetian vote. I wouldn’t want anyone here to think that the identity has been lost, Leo is increasingly angry anyway!”, said Zaia, who touched on immigration and autonomy, the latter reform for which he thanked Minister Calderoli.
Zaia, accompanied by regional councilors, presented himself with a huge Venetian flag with the words ‘Autonomy now’ written on it. “They told us that we were racist when we talked about federalism, does anyone want to explain that autonomy is federalism? The Constitution has within it the provision of autonomy. Autonomy is not a subversive act, autonomy is a true assumption of responsibility, it means giving the opportunity to everyone from North to South, it puts an end to parasitism. Wake up, if you have to pack a suitcase for treatment, it means that they manage healthcare badly at home” he concludes.
CALDEROLI: “2024 YEAR OF AUTONOMY”
“2024 will be the year of autonomy”, the Minister for Regional Affairs and Autonomy Roberto Calderoni is convinced, stating this from the Pontida stage. “We have accelerated the Commission” and the minister says he is convinced that “2024 will be the year of autonomy”.
“For me it is the 35th Pontida, for me – he continues – it is the day of pride, those who do not remember the past will have no future and I do not forget. I am proud to be a minister, a minister from Bergamo, I thank Umberto Bossi for having created the Lega and Pontida, I thank Roberto Maroni with whom I grew up within the party and Matteo Salvini thanks to whom we achieved the highest results in the history of the League”.