France has recalled its ambassador from Rome, responding to the “repeated, groundless attacks and unprecedented statements” by Italian politicians, said the Foreign Ministry in Paris. “Having disagreements is one thing, but manipulating relations for electoral goals is another.” The recent interference hurt “the respect that democratically and freely elected governments owe each other.”
The latest nuisance to the government in Paris was a meeting of Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio with the leader of the “Yellow vest”, Christophe Chalencon.
The “yellow vests” have been protesting for months against the policies of French President Emmanuel Macron – and the government in Rome supports openly just four months before the European elections, the protest movement.
Thus, the feud between Paris and Rome has reached a new high point.
Inflamed by the conflict over refugee policy, Macron accused Rome of “cynicism” and “irresponsibility” after Italy refused to allow rescue ships to be manned in its ports.
But it quickly became a directional dispute between “progressives”, as Macron calls himself, and “Populists”. The French leader has declared the European elections a referendum on both camps.