Last updated on February 10th, 2019
The spat between France and Italy, which had already heated up via verbal exchange, has finally seen its first reaction as France recalled its ambassador from Rome. The temperature especially soared because of the European election, which will be held in May.
France inciting the verbal attacks from Italian political leaders as baseless said it was “without precedent since world war two.” Italy’s two deputy prime ministers, the far-right Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio of the populist, anti-establishment Five Star Movement, have continuously criticized the French President, Emmanuel Macron. In their comments, while taking a dig at Macron, they highlighted the issues such as immigration and yellow vest protests, which have destabilized the President’s decision making power in recent times.
Last Month, speaking to reporters during his visit to Egypt, Macron expressed that verbal attacks were “of no importance.” The sequence of events though changed quickly as France made a big decision to call back its ambassador.
Di Maio this week met leaders of yellow vest protests looking to run in May’s European parliament elections as he publicized that the “wind of change has crossed the Alps” and a “new Europe is being born of the yellow vests”. France replying to criticism said the comments were an unacceptable “provocation.”
This further created a situation where France announced the immediate return of its ambassador to Paris for talks, the French foreign office giving clarity on the issues said: “For several months, France has been the target of repeated, baseless attacks and outrageous statements. Having disagreements is one thing but manipulating the relationship for electoral aims is another.” He added, “All of these actions are creating a serious situation which is raising questions about the Italian government’s intentions towards France.”
Salvini has been an outright critic of Macron for a very long period of time. Beginning from bashing the French President on supporting the immigrants to declaring that he would break the “Germany-France axis”. Supporting the yellow vest protests views, he has been openly carrying out agendas against Macron. Likewise, even Di Maio, last month backed the anti-government protestors during the protests and asked them to “not give up.”
Salvini, however, maybe only forging partnership said that his government did not want to fall out and would suggest a meeting Macron to fix the spat. “I don’t want to row with anyone, I’m prepared to go to Paris, even by foot, to discuss the many issues we have.”
Three major issues are what he said must be resolved to solve the problem between the nations. Firstly, the police must illegally stop dumping migrants into Italy, secondly that the lengthy border checks must be tackled, and lastly that France hands over 15 Italian leftist militants who have taken refuge in the nation in recent decades.
The relationship between the neighbors has stiffened, especially in the last decade, with France promoting the norms of democracy, accepting migrants at shared borders, and signing pacts, which look to eradicate Eurosceptic nationalism.
Also, over and above all is the upcoming election, where the fight between France and Italy is to take charge of the continent and impose their respective visions on it. While France believes in Democracy, Italy has promoted norms to distort it completely.