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France and Italy on a collision course

A rift between two founding countries of the EU was never that wide as the one now between France and Italy.

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Friday, February 8, 2019

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Di Maio’s trip to Paris, to meet protesters against the French government, seems indeed quite undiplomatic, but it was also the last straw that broke the camel’s back. In recent months, the relationship between the two countries has grown tenser.   Matteo Salvini, leader of the other Italian government party, Lega, has several times publicly criticised the French President. He called Macron ‘new Napoleon’, a ‘windbag’ and a ‘polite young man who exaggerates in champagne’.
Di Maio’s trip to Paris, to meet protesters against the French government, seems indeed quite undiplomatic, but it was also the last straw that broke the camel’s back. In recent months, the relationship between the two countries has grown tenser. Matteo Salvini, leader of the other Italian government party, Lega, has several times publicly criticised the French President. He called Macron ‘new Napoleon’, a ‘windbag’ and a ‘polite young man who exaggerates in champagne’.

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By N. Peter Kramer

A rift between two founding countries of the EU was never that wide as the one now between France and Italy.

Italy’s Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio (Five Stars Movement) went to Paris to meet leaders of the Gilets Jaunes, President Macron’s tormentors.  France recalled its ambassador in Rome to come back for consultations; a drastic action in the diplomatic world, certainly between EU memberstates. 

Di Maio’s trip to Paris, to meet protesters against the French government, seems indeed quite undiplomatic, but it was also the last straw that broke the camel’s back. In recent months, the relationship between the two countries has grown tenser. 

Matteo Salvini, leader of the other Italian government party, Lega, has several times publicly criticised the French President. He called Macron ‘new Napoleon’, a ‘windbag’ and a ‘polite young man who exaggerates in champagne’. 

Di Maio spoke of France as a neo-colonial force that, by exploiting the sub-Saharan people, boosts the exodus of migrants. He also accused the French government of pursuing policies ‘which are not only damaging to the French people but also to Europe’.

As someone said to me, this is ‘a practise that is usually prohibited between EU leaders’. Five Star Movement and Lega are pushing the idea of competition with France to its limits. It looks like a method of campaigning for the upcoming European Parliament elections. 

At least that is what the French Minister of Foreign Affairs thinks, he said ‘the campaign for the EP elections cannot justify a lack of respect for French people or its democracy’. 

To be continued.

   

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