Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, whose slogan is ‘Italians first,’ pulled support for the coalition government and called for snap elections on Thursday.
Salvini had urged for a ‘sovereignist’ right-wing front to challenge the EU in European elections earlier this year.
The pope warned, in an interview published in La Stampa on Friday, that ‘sovereignism reveals an attitude toward isolation’ and compared increasing nationalism to Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s.
‘I am concerned because we hear speeches that resemble those of Hitler in 1934. “Us first, We… We…” These are frightening thoughts,’ the pope told the Turin paper.
The 82-year-old pontiff lived through years of right-wing dictatorship in his native Argentina.
Ahead of the EU elections in May, Salvini reached out in his bid for a ‘sovereignist’ alliance to France’s far-right party leader Marine Le Pen and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Far-right parties performed strongly in those polls.