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Populist leaders of Finland, Germany, Italy and Denmark join hands at the announcement of a new euroskeptic alliance. Photo: Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini announced the formation of a new populist alliance — titled the "European Alliance of Peoples and Nations" — that will compete in next month's European Parliament elections on an anti-migration, pro-borders platform.

The big picture: Salvini, with whom fellow nationalist Steve Bannon has forged a close relationship, will be joined by euroskeptic parties from Germany, Finland, Denmark, France, Austria and the Netherlands. May's elections will be the first since the 2016 Brexit referendum, and will be a test for an EU threatened from within by newly empowered strands of anti-migrant nationalism.

  • "As interior minister for 10 months, the No. 1 risk in Italy and Europe is Islamic extremism, Islamic fanaticism, Islamic terrorism," Salvini declared at the press conference.
  • Salvini said if the group wins a parliamentary majority, it would seek to block the process of Turkey — a Muslim-majority country — joining the EU.

What to watch: One of Europe's most notorious nationalist parties, Hungary's Fidesz, was recently suspended from the powerful, center-right European People's Party for "rule of law" violations. If Fidesz and its ultra-nationalist Prime Minister Vikor Orbán decide to leave the EPP for good, the Salvini-led alliance would be a likely landing spot.

Go deeper: Europe's future on the ballot

Go deeper

UN poll: Most see climate change as global emergency amid pandemic

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) fronts a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in September. Photo: Jonathan Nacksrtrand/AFP via Getty Images

64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a United Nations poll published Wednesday finds.

Why it matters: It's biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S. where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.