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Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban and Italian Minister of Internal Affairs Matteo Salvini shake hands on August 28, 2018. Photo: Pier Marco Tacca via Getty Images

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán Tuesday to discuss a migration plan the two immigration hardliners can present to the European Union, reports The Guardian.

Why it matters: The meeting followed an intense weekend standoff in which Salvini, who also serves as Italy's interior minister, refused to let more than 150 migrants disembark a rescue ship unless the EU agreed to distribute them across other countries. He's now facing potential charges for abuse of office, kidnapping, and illegal arrest. Salvini's meeting with the virulently anti-immigrant Orbán — whom he has called his political role model — indicates that Italy and its populist government have no intention of yielding to the EU's migration demands.

The backdrop: The coalition government of Salvini's far-right League party and the Five-Star Movement, led by Luigi Di Maio, has cracked down on the number of migrants Italy will accept. Tensions came to a head on Monday, when Di Maio threatened to veto the EU's seven-year budget plan for not complying with Italy's demands during the weekend crisis.

“In Europe the music will change ... There’s no dogma over the approval of the multi-year budget for the next seven years, which they would like to rush to approve before the European elections. We won’t let them do it, and if the immigration situation does not change between now and the near future, the veto will be certain."
— Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio

Italy's Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi later added that while contributing to the EU's budget is a legal obligation, the burden of accepting migrants "cannot be based purely on the geography of the continent,” per the FT.

  • In 2017, Italy received 16,577 migrants, the third-most in Europe next to Greece (22,899) and Spain (17,950), according to the International Organization on Migration. Figures have dropped significantly since the new government decided to close all seaports to rescue boats in the Mediterranean.

What's next: Per The Guardian, some Italian media have speculated that Salvini's meeting with Hungary's Orbán could be a prelude to a populist alliance ahead of the 2019 European parliamentary elections.

Go deeper: Europe's growing anti-immigration backlash.

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.