Tensions continue to rise between Italy and France following Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio’s meeting with the leaders of the anti-government Yellow Vests in Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron reacted to the upfront by recalling his ambassador in Italy. And now European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and European Commission Presidential candidate Manfred Weber have hit out at Italy’s “big mistake”.
President Tajani told Euronews: “Of course, this is a big mistake of the vice prime minister Mr Di Maio to go to the Gilets Jaunes in France.
“I think we need to change the strategy. Italy is isolated.
“We need to cooperate, to work, with friends.
“Of course, there are problems, but this is not a good choice to attack in favour of Gilet Jaunes.
“We are in favour of police. We are in favour of workers.
“We are against violence.
“This is a big Italian mistake. As I said, Italy is isolated.”
Echoing President Tajani, German MEP Manfred Weber called on the Italians to “stop complaining to Paris, Brussels or Berlin” and take responsibility for their own economic problems.
He said: “We have in Europe generally an atmosphere where we attack each other.
“Where the member states attack each other. And we have to come back to a spirit of cooperation, of compromise, of sitting together and solving problems together.
“So what I would ask the Italian government is stop complaining to Paris, to Brussels, or to Berlin about your economic problems.
“Take over your responsibility.”
Emmanuel Macron’s Government has accused Italian populist leaders of making “outrageous statements” and stirring the already strained situation with a series of aggressive decisions – including backing the Yellow Vest movement and accusing Paris of being responsible for Europe’s migrant crisis.
France’s foreign ministry said in a statement: “France has been, for several months, the target of repeated, baseless attacks and outrageous statements.
The ministry also argued the attacks launched by the politicians in Rome are without precedent since World War 2.
The statement continued: “Having disagreements is one thing, but manipulating the relationship for electoral aims is another.
“All of these actions are creating a serious situation which is raising questions about the Italian government’s intentions towards France.”