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Matteo Salvini Threw A Lame Party on Monday

Matteo Salvini Threw A Lame Party on Monday

Yesterday, Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini threw a big party meant to launch a new alliance of European populist nationalist parties.

There was just one problem: not many people showed up.


Mr. Salvini, the most powerful politician in Italy, wants to "broaden the . . . family" of far-right parties ahead of elections to the European Parliament next month. Not a bad plan, given that support for the far-right across Europe has surged in recent years.

But some of Europe's most powerful far-right leaders took a rain check on the get-together. Conspicuous no-shows included members of France's National Rally, Hungary's Fidesz, and Poland's Law and Justice.

The problem for Salvini is that while Europe's far-right populists all agree on the need to curb the EU's power and push back against its liberal values, they disagree on some very big issues:

Views of the EU differ widely: While bashing Brussels is a standard crowd-pleaser for right-wing parties, views of the EU actually vary widely across the countries currently governed by such parties: only 42 percent of Italians believe EU membership has been good for their country. But in Hungary and Poland 60 and 70 percent of people, respectively, say the same.

Who takes the migrants? Europe's far-right leaders generally agree they want to close Europe's borders to further migrants (at least non-Christian ones). But there's friction over how to handle those who manage to arrive. Countries like Italy, which has absorbed more than 360,000 migrant arrivals since 2016, want others to share the burden. But Hungary and Poland have refused to take even a single migrant, defying an EU resettlement program. This fundamental disagreement complicates attempts by the far-right to forge a common migrant policy, a key component of European governance.

Relations with Russia: Far-right leaders in Italy and Austria want better relations with Moscow, seeing Russia as a welcome business partner and source of political leverage against Brussels. But Poland's Law and Justice prefers a more cautious approach, owing to Poland's historical concerns about Russian intentions. So while Rome and Vienna expressly called for ending Ukraine-related sanctions on Russia, you'd never hear such a thing from Warsaw.

Upshot: Europe's far-right parties have surged in recent years, but when it comes down to it, they'll chafe at least as much against each other as they do against Brussels.

Wales, early 19th century: During breaks from his law studies, William Robert Grove indulges in his passion for science to become an inventor. On his honeymoon in Europe, he learns about the new energy source everyone's talking about: electricity. After learning that electricity allows water to be broken down into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, his intuition leads him to an idea that ends up making him a pioneer of sustainable energy production.

Watch the story of William Robert Grove in Eni's MINDS series, where we travel through time seeking scientists.

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele is an unusual politician. The 39-year old political outsider boasts of his political triumphs on TikTok, dons a suave casual uniform (backwards-facing cap; leather jacket; tieless ), and refuses to abide by Supreme Court rulings.

Bukele also enjoys one of the world's highest approval ratings, and that's what helped his New Ideas party clinch a decisive victory in legislative elections on February 28, securing a close to two-third's supermajority (75 percent of the vote had been counted at the time of this writing).

His triumph will resonate far beyond the borders of El Salvador, Central America's smallest country, home to 6.5 million people. Now that Bukele has consolidated power in a big way, here are a few key developments to keep an eye on.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

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Iran rules out nuclear talks… for now: Iran has reportedly rejected an offer to join direct talks with the US and EU over its nuclear program, saying it won't start the conversation until sanctions on Iran's economy are eased. To be clear, this does NOT mean that prospects for reviving the Iran nuclear deal are dead. Europeans and the Biden administration want a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, and Iran certainly needs the economic boost that would come from a removal of sanctions. But Tehran is going to try to maximize its leverage before any talks begin, especially since this is a sensitive election year in in the country. Iran's leaders are going to play hard to get for a while longer before edging their way back to the bargaining table. Still, it's high stakes diplomacy here between parties that have almost no mutual trust — and one misstep could throw things off track quickly.

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18: A week after threatening protesters with a severe crackdown, Myanmar's ruling junta killed at least 18 people across the country in the bloodiest day of clashes since the generals staged a coup last month.
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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Quick Take