France and Italy are in a diplomatic fracas over comments made by the Deputy Minister of Italy, Luigi Di Maio.
The French government has summoned the Italian Ambassador to put Di Maio to order after he said France has ”never stopped colonising tens of African states.”
Italian leadership of mainly populist politicians have clashed repeatedly with France over issues like culture, protest and migration.
Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte has tried to wade into the issue saying the two countries have a ‘solid friendship’ but Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini who is a right-wing politician played no peacemaking role when he called French President, Emmanuel Macron a ”terrible president”.
The issues between the two neighbours have been about migration as France has sent back Italian migrants on the northern border.
Salvini also accused France of harbouring fourteen(14) terrorists.
Di Maio had said;
“The EU should impose sanctions on France and all countries like France that impoverish Africa and make these people leave, because Africans should be in Africa, not at the bottom of the Mediterranean,” he said.
“If people are leaving today it’s because European countries, France above all, have never stopped colonising dozens of African countries”
Di Maio said France would have ranked 15th among world economies if they had no influence on African countries.
Italian ambassador to France, Teresa Castaldo, was summoned to the foreign ministry in Paris on Monday.
According to the Italian news agency Ansa, French diplomats have tagged Mr Di Maio’s remarks ”hostile and without cause given the partnership between France and Italy in the European Union”.
An unrepentant Di Maio said further;
“France is one of those countries that by printing money for 14 African states prevents their economic development and contributes to the fact that the refugees leave and then die in the sea or arrive on our coasts,” he said.
“If Europe wants to be brave, it must have the courage to confront the issue of decolonisation in Africa.”
Salvini agreed, and labelled France as “one of those countries that siphons Africa’s wealth.”
The CFA Franc has also been criticised for helping impoverish some West African nations with a Senegalese activist burning 5,000 CFA note.