tens of thousands of people have begun evacuating from coastal areas as the super typhoon heads towards the island. 10 million people are believed to be at risk in the path of the storm. there's more extreme weather, this time on the east coast of the united states, as hurricane florence looms. forecasters expect life threatening flooding as a result of a storm surge. residents are being warned that ‘time is running out‘ if they are to leave their homes. and this story is trending on bbc.com: the singer dua lipa has called her fans "brave" after videos showed security guards dragging people from their seats in shanghai. it's been claimed those fans targetted were waving gay rights flags. now on bbc news: hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur and today, i'm at the ambrosetti forum, which is a gathering of italy's
political elite on the shores of lake como. there is no doubt who the dominant character is here. all the reporters here are waiting for him, and he happens to be my guest today, matteo salvini, the deputy prime minister and interior minister and arguably the most powerful populist politician in europe today. he rose to power on the back ofan anti—immigrant, anti—eu message — so what does his rise mean for italy and for europe? deputy prime minister matteo salvini, welcome to hardtalk. grazie.
we are meeting at the ambrosetti forum, where the italian political elite come to discuss the future of your country. and i've been speaking to people and there's a great deal of fear and suspicion about you and your agenda. some people are calling you dangerous, some people are calling you an extremist. why do you think there is so much suspicion of you? you've chosen to answer me by immediately turning to the issue of immigration. there is no question that immigration was one of the biggest messages that you carried with you through the election campaign, but your message seems to be that italy and its problems could be completely solved were you to stop all immigration and get rid of the immigrants. is it your belief that italy's problems can be solved in that way? you say after stopping immigration.
does that mean that you are determined that no more of these migrant ships will be allowed to land in italy? because over the last few months, we've seen controversy after controversy after these boats, loaded with hundreds of men, women, and children, are forced to sit in the mediterranean because you will not allow them to land on italian soil. but you are breaking the rules that were agreed by the italian government, with all of the other member states of the european union, to run what is called operation sophia, and to have these migrants land in the nearest port, which happens to be italy, and you're now refusing to accept your responsibilities to take these people. but there was a real humanitarian crisis here, minister, and you have blood on your hands because of the policies you've adopted. the unhcr is quite clear. they say the new restrictions that you and your government have put on these migrant boats, the new limited access to italian ports for refugees and migrants, has led to a far higher
death rate at sea. that's your responsibility. the head of italy's medical agency, stefano vella, recently resigned, saying, "as a doctor, i can't tolerate, as a public body, a time when people are treated in this intolerable way on our territory." you have been in office as interior minister for what, i believe, about two, three months. already, you face a criminal investigation from the authorities in sicily who, with regard to your treatment of one particular migrant boat, are now accusing you of kidnap. and you've only been in office a few weeks. this is going to lead to chaos. the wider point here is that you,
during the election campaign, told the italian people, you said, "we are going to get rid of, we are going to deport at least 500,000 illegal immigrants." your message was simple. you said, "the good times for these illegals was over. they'd better get ready and packed their bags." but you know as well as i do that actually, it is going to be impossible for you to deport 600,000 people. italy cannot afford it, italy cannot contravene international conventions, and a lot of the countries these people come from refuse to take them back. italy will not be able to do what you promised. but going back to the point
about the way in which the rest of europe sees you. here are some very pointed words from angela merkel on a couple of weeks ago. she says, "i believe the soul of europe is humanity and if we want to retain this soul, then europe can't simply decouple itself on the need and the suffering of others." and those remarks, i suspect, were pointed directly at you and your policies. you couch your determination to end the immigration and get rid of the illegal immigrants in your country as something that will solve italy's crime problem, solve many of italy's economic problems, but i put it to you that many people believe that you are also motivated by a form of racism. a racism which is perhaps best expressed by your desire to get rid of the roma in italy who are not formal italian citizens. you have called for a new census of all the roma. you said, "unfortu nately, we will have to keep the italian roma because we can't expel them, but the rest must go." but you know what this
what do you say... 0k... when you talk of all romas, but only one ethnic group, the roma in italy, having to register, having to declare themselves to the state, neomi di segni, who is the president of the union of italian jewish communities, who perhaps has a long collective memory of those sorts of things, she says, "salvini is awakening memories of the racist laws of 80 years ago." do you not listen to things like that and perhaps wonder wheter you have gone too far? do you admire mussolini?
i know you know your history. you've been a student of history. do you admire benito mussolini? but is it true that on mussolini's... the anniversary of mussolini's birthday last summer, you posted on social media the quote, "so many enemies, so much honour," which of course is an echo of course mussolini's own well—known saying, "many enemies, much honour." did you do that? but it is an interesting intellectualjourney you have made,
because as a youth, you were a communist. now you are a member of one of europe's leading far—right political movements. for a long time you are a supporter of secession for the north of italy, a regionalist, now you claim to be an italian nationalist. it is quite hard to pin down what is the core of your philosophy. what is it that you actually, truly believe in? when it comes to your style of politics, i look at the people you seem to admire most and be closest to around europe and around the world, and it has to be said many of them appear to be authoritarians in their style. of course, i am thinking primarily of vladimir putin
in russia, whom you have been to visit, whom you've described as i think one of the most successful and admirable politicians in the world today. you've said, "italy could do with dozens like putin, who truly act in the interests of their citizens". what is it about putin that you so admire? but, hang on. minister, if i may interrupt, vladimir putin represses opposition at home, we know that. in terms of his foreign policy, he has annexed crimea, the british prime minister, as you know, hasjust accused him and his government of signing off, authorising a chemical weapons attack on uk soil, for which sanctions have been imposed by europe and the united states.
and yet, you describe him as a politician you admire most in the world today. that really doesn't seem to make much sense. has your party, the league, received money from russia? we know that marine le pen's party in france received millions of dollars... zero. zero? zero. and yet, your party does have, i believe, a co—operation agreement with united russia, putin's party. where does this leave the european union?
in the past you have called it a gulag, you describe the euro as one of the biggest economic and social crimes ever committed against humanity. and yet, italy is a founding member of the european union, prides itself as one of the central players in the european union. are you proposing that italy should take itself out of the eu? but, i guess the key question is, are you prepared to play by
europe's rules? we have discussed migration policy, which you say you are determined to change because you will not accept the way it works at the moment. but when it comes to economics and finance as well, we see that your government has an ambitious economic programme based on slashing taxes to the flat tax that you want, your partners have a universal basic income idea, there is commitment to massive, new public spending on infrastructure. all of this suggests that you are not interested in the eu's basic financial budgetary rules, which tell us that a country like italy is running an unacceptably high debt of something like 130% of gdp, which must come down. your plan looks like it will make it go up, not down. you know, there is fear in brussels
and in berlin and other european capitals about what italy could do to the eurozone and the european economy. to quote one german mp close to angela merkel, eckhardt rehberg, he said "italy is playing with fire and it is now endangering the eurozone. " one interesting challenge facing all of the members
of the european union is what to do about brexit. now, there has been a great effort led by michel barnier, who is the chief commission negotiator on brexit, to keep and maintain european unity, and yet you have said recently that you think the eu, and i am using your words, is trying to swindle the uk out of the brexit that it voted for. what do you mean by that? so i guess the specific question for you is, will italy, the italian government, encourage france and germany to be more flexible and to make real concessions to the uk? if in the future you lead a league government, that is that you are the dominant
partner and you perhaps become prime minister, would you at that point consider taking italy out of the european union? if in the future you lead a league government, that is that you are the dominant partner and you perhaps become prime minister, would you at that point consider taking italy out of the european union? ok, so you say no to leaving the eu, what about the eurozone? can you imagine a day when italy will leave the euro? to finish, we began talking about the ambrosetti forum, you are about to go and address the leading business and political men and women of italy. do you think anything that you have said to me
on hurricane florence battering the east coast of the united states. and the worst of the weather is technically still out to sea. the storm's eye isn't expected to cross land, that is, make landfall, until around about lunchtime on friday uk time. but it has already been battering north carolina, south carolina, areas towards the north as well as further inland, and it is a slow—moving storm, that means it is dumping a lot of rainfall in the same place for a considerable amount of time, and those destructive winds, the storm surge, likely to be some destructive flooding from this or the system. meanwhile, in the asia—pacific, we have a very powerful storm, even stronger, typhoon mankhut, a super typhoon heading for northern parts of luzon in the philippines, and the effects of the storm could be catastrophic, so two very powerful storms both sides of the globe.
meanwhile, here in the uk, obviously it is a lot quieter, thank goodness. showers in the north, much more dry in the south, and this is a satellite image from the last 12 hours, clouds into the northern part of the country, further south the clouds have broken up at bit, so we have clearer weather. and that's how we start friday morning. a lot of dry weather notjust in the south but some eastern areas, whereas in the north—west notice the rain in northern ireland, western scotland and the north—west of england. as we go through the morning into the afternoon,
there is the clock, ten, ii, 12, showery spells, in the south—east it should be dry, if not even sunny, 19 in london, fresh in aberdeen at around 15 degrees. now that takes us into the friday night and eventually saturday. high pressure to the south of the uk will bring warm and sunny weather in the near continent and not so bad in the south of the uk as well and in the midlands. sunshine on the way for saturday. some of the bright weather extends all the way to scotland but a weather front only coming from the north—west, so saturday in the north—west there will be some rain and a decent breeze. 21 on saturday. sunday's weather forecast and a weather front is expected to move across the uk. the central swathe could have some rain, but we have some brighter weather and the warm spot in the south and the south—east, to around 22 degrees. i'm sharanjit leyl in singapore. the headlines: tens of thousands of people in the philippines have begun evacuating from coastal areas as super typhoon mankhut heads towards the island of luzon. and in the united states,
there's more extreme weather as hurricane florence looms. forecasters expect life threatening flooding as a result of a storm surge. i'm kasia madera in london. also in the programme. we'll be talking to malaysia's first daughter, marina mahathir, about human rights and why she's not one to shy away from the spotlight. and bye bye beetle: german car manufacturer volkswagen announces it's stopping production of the iconic car next year.