EU on alert: Furious row between Italy and France – French minister attack on Salvini | World | News



French minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher has continued a furious war of words between her country and Italy, which erupted earlier this week. Both of the country’s deputy prime ministers have launched a series of brutal attack on France and its president Emmanuel Macron. Luigi di Maio, who leads the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), started the row when he accused Paris of profiting from Africa by refusing to give up its colonial position.

Mr Di Maio claimed that Paris had impoverished Africa and fuelled migration across the Mediterranean towards Italy.

Interior minister Matteo Salvini joined in on the attack by urging French voters not to back president Emmanuel Macron in upcoming European elections.

He called Mr Macron’s tenure “terrible” and urged an uprising among the French at the European Parliament elections in May.

Luca Morisi, Salvini’s social media strategist, later posted a photo of the Italian politician with Marine Le Pen, his French counterpart alongside the caption: “Matteo + Marine, Macron’s worst nightmare!”

In a fierce rebuttal at Davos this week, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, who serves as secretary of state, condemned Mr Salvini  and suggested he had “no influence” in France.

She told Euronews: “We consider that we should not interfere in the internal affairs of other European countries.

“We are not sure that Salvini has any influence on the vote and the support of the French people.

“What is important for us today is to focus on building a more integrated, stronger and more competitive Europe.

“That is really what the Europeans elections are all about and that is for the benefit of the whole of Europe.”

French Foreign Minister Natalie Loiseau added to this response by claiming Mr Macron would not engage in a “stupidity contest” with the Italians.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ensured that the break-down in relations between the two leading European countries continues into next week with a set of hostile remarks.

Yesterday, Mr Conte accused France and Germany of using empty pro-European rhetoric while pursuing their national interests on areas from immigration to industry and international diplomacy.

He said Italy was no longer prepared to be treated as a “poor relation” while the EU’s largest states tried to increase their power and influence at the expense of real European integration.

Mr Conte added: “They are taking us for a ride. The truth is that we have caught France and Germany with their hand in the cookie jar.”

Pointing to polls showing that 60 per cent of Italians back his administration, the prime minister claimed: “No other government in Europe has the support we have”.


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