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Matteo Salvini: ‘I refuse to think of substituting 10m Italians with 10m migrants’

Exclusive: Far-right politician is in campaign mode and says he has no regrets about draconian policies he introduced when he was interior minister

Whether they’re camped outside in freezing temperatures or stranded at sea, Matteo Salvini exhibits little sympathy for the asylum seekers blocked at European borders. The Italian far-right leader, who as interior minister attempted to stop NGO rescue boats landing in Italian ports, in one case leading to criminal charges, will travel to Warsaw next month in a show of solidarity with his Polish allies who have deployed hardcore tactics to ward off thousands of refugees trying to enter from Belarus.

“I think that Europe is realising that illegal immigration is dangerous,” Salvini told the Guardian in an interview conducted before 27 people drowned attempting to cross the Channel in an inflatable boat. “So maybe this shock will be useful.”

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