France recalls ambassador from Italy over ‘baseless attacks’
Italy's deputy prime ministers have openly criticised Emannuel Macron's leadership
France has recalled its ambassador to Italy, blaming its decision on escalating “baseless attacks and outrageous statements” from the Italian government.
The extraordinary move comes just a day after Italy’s right-wing deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio met with representatives from the “gilets jaunes” movement, which will have been seen as an insult to Emmanuel Macron, who has been battling to end the protests.
The movement began as a protest over fuel prices in November, but has since come to represent far wider dissatisfaction with the French political and economic system.
A statement from the French foreign ministry said the public attacks had no precedent since World War II.
"Having disagreements is one thing, but manipulating the relationship for electoral aims is another," the statement read.
"All of these actions are creating a serious situation which is raising questions about the Italian government's intentions towards France."
Mr Di Maio last month said that France had “never stopped colonising” former French colonies and called for the EU to sanction France for its actions on the African continent.
Mr Di Maio’s populist co-deputy PM Matteo Salvini has also attacked the French government, particularly Mr Macron. In an interview with Italy’s public broadcaster RAI, in reference to the upcoming May elections he said “I hope the French people can shortly make different choices”.
Italy is yet to respond to the recall of the French ambassador for consultations.
Updated: February 7, 2019 07:36 PM