Blair to meet Salvini to discuss Azeri gas pipeline

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The Italian far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini will meet former British prime minister Tony Blair in Rome to discuss controversial plans to extend a gas pipeline that will run from Azerbaijan to Puglia in Southern Italy.

The Guardian 

Tony Blair to meet Salvini to discuss Trans Adriatic Pipeline. The Ex-UK prime minister and Italian interior minister will discuss plans to extend gas pipeline

Blair has worked as a consultant on the Trans Adriatic Pipeline since 2014, which is the pet project of Azerbaijan’s strongman president, Ilham Aliyev.

Blair’s office did not offer any direct comment on the reason for the meeting, but Salvini said he was willing to hear from Blair on the pipeline, and other issues.

lair’s strong views on the dangers of populism make him an unlikely choice to persuade Salvini of the value of the pipeline.

Blair has toned down his commercial lobbying since heading up his new Institute for Global Change, a movement dedicated to combatting populism and its causes. He said in a recent speech that the simplistic solutions provided by rampant nationalism of the kind advocated by Salvini’s League could lead to a return to 1930s fascism.

The governing Italian coalition between the Five Star Movement (M5S) and Salvini’s League is divided on the gas pipeline issue. In July, Salvini said he would support the pipeline project claiming it would help to drive down gas prices in Italy, where there was little competition in the energy market. “The south of Italy needs infrastructure,’’ he said, “we need to move forward.’’

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