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Europe

French far-right leader Le Pen meets Berlusconi minister

media Marine Le Pen Reuters/Jean-Pierre Amet

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen shared a platform with a junior minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s government and met other right-wing politicians on a three-day visit to Italy that ended Saturday.

Le Pen, who took over the leadership of the Front National from her father in January, appeared at a round table at the Milan stock exchange with Berlusconi junior minister Daniela Santanche.

“We are both trying to bury the image of a right-wing that is obsolete and ideological,” said Santanche who is on the right of Italy’s ruling coalition.

Both politicians expressed scepticism about this year’s Arab revolts, with Le Pen hailing the “wisdom of Russia and China” in vetoing a UN Security Council motion on Syria.

While Le Pen, who visited the Italian island of Lampedusa in March, repeated her call for an end to immigration into France, Santanche called for “compatible immigration”, which would accept Filipinos because they are mostly Catholic but not people who are “poorly compatible with our culture and traditions”.

Earlier Le Pen met about 40 businesspeople near Verona, where she also met politicians from the Dresta sociale party of Rome’s mayor Gianni Alemanno.

The party, which grew out of the fascist MSI, is an ally of Berlusconi’s People of Liberty.

The French far-right leader declared that she was on a mission to "convince M Berlusconi or those around him to open the debate on the euro", which she would like to see scrapped.

While in Verona, Le Pen visited the house supposedly inhabited by the heroine of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, taking time to pose for photographers on the so-called “Juliet’s balcony”.

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