> ANSA English > News

League slams president for 'shameful' pro-EU speech

'Dinosaurs like Merkel afraid of European elections'

24 March, 14:34
League slams president for 'shameful' pro-EU speech (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, March 24 - The head of the right-wing Northern League said President Giorgio Napolitano's speech marking a 1944 Nazi massacre in Rome Monday was "shameful" for using the occasion to criticize Euroskepticism.

"The dinosaurs and Euro-bureaucrats are afraid! A wind of freedom is blowing from France," said Matteo Salvini, referring to France's far-right National Front party making significant gains in local elections over the weekend. "(European Parliament elections) will be a nightmare for Merkel, Napolitano, and every fan of the euro. A different Europe is possible," said Salvini in statement on Facebook. With anti-austerity rancor running high across Europe, parties such as a the Northern League and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement are expected to do well at European elections on May 25. President Giorgio Napolitano was speaking at the Fosse Ardeatine, the site of the massacre, when he said that "various parties are trying to discredit and attack" institutions such as the European Union, which contribute to peace and unity". Meanwhile, opponents of the EU are rallying and these should be countered, said Napolitano. "We must remember...that we cannot play with these opponents who tend to discredit our heritage of the struggle for freedom," he added.

Napolitano spoke during a ceremony to commemorate the March 1944 massacre of 335 men and boys at Rome's Fosse Ardeatine, a network of caves on the southern edge of the city. Nazi soldiers carried out the murders in a reprisal for a partisan attack that killed 33 German soldiers. In retaliation, for every one German killed, the army seized 10 Italians including civilians as well as numerous political prisoners and Jews who were in custody, plus another five more were also executed.