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Salvini hails Orban as a 'hero' during Milan visit

SECURITY
Salvini hails Orban as a 'hero' during Milan visit

Italy's hardline interior minister Matteo Salvini on Tuesday called Hungary's far-right premier Viktor Orban "my hero" after the pair had lunch together at a restaurant in the northern city of Milan.

"He is my hero and a soulmate," Salvini said.

"I am very curious to get to know him. I am a big admirer of his. And I have some experiences that I may be able to share with him - that's my impression," Salvini stated.

Salvini and Orban, two of Europe's most vocal anti-migration politicians, are reportedly due to present to Brussels a blueprint expected to focus on a migration plan involving relocation and border security, also well a possible alliance between populist parties for the 2019 European parliamentary elections.

The blueprint follows the recent diplomatic standoff over 177 people rescued in the Mediterranean who were stranded aboard the Diciotti coastguard ship for 10 days after Salvini refused them entry to Italy unless the European Union "stepped in" and found a solution.

The incident ended when Ireland, the Catholic Church and Albania agreed to take most of the rescued migrants.

The standoff stoked tensions between Brussels and the populist government in Rome, which said it might veto the next EU budget in protest at the bloc's failure to collectively manage migration - a threat described as "unhelpful" by the European Commission.

Salvini has set a goal of zero migration to Italy while Orban has refused to cooperate with any EU plans to redistribute migrants from arrival countries in southern Europe, notably Italy and Greece.

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