Italy Accuses France Of 'Stealing Wealth' From African 'Colonies'
Italian foreign minister Matteo Salvini slams Macron on immigration crisis
Italian foreign minister Matteo Salvini has accused France of “stealing wealth” from African “colonies” as an argument erupted over France's role in Africa amid the ongoing clash over Europe’s mass immigration crisis.
The Italian foreign minister and Lega leader slammed French President Emmanuel Macron over the explosion in the number of illegal immigrants entering Europe.
Rome recently shut its borders as the number of migrants attempting to cross into the country increased sharply.
Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio’s Five Star Movement (MS5) - which is part of Italy’s coalition government La Lega - denounced France over its colonial past.
MS5 linked France’s African colonization with mass immigration in Europe, saying Paris was not “interested in stabilizing” struggles in once-French colonized areas.
Mr. Salvini accused France of “stealing wealth” from African countries such as Libya.
Mr. Salvini said in a TV interview:
“In Africa, there are people who steal wealth from the population. France is obviously among them.
“Let us not take lessons from France, which in recent years has rejected tens of thousands of migrants at the border between France and Italy, including women and children.”
According to the Express: The comments are the latest evidence of French-Italian relations deteriorating since Italy voted in a new coalition Government.
Mr. Macron has compared the rise of populism in Europe to “leprosy,” while Mr. Salvini criticized France for its “hypocritical” approach to the flow of migrants entering Europe from North Africa.
On Monday, Mr. Di Maio accused Paris of continuing to colonize African countries.
He said: “There are countries like France which continues to maintain colonies in Africa by issuing currency, the franc, imposed onto its former colonies.
“This currency is used to finance France’s public debt and weakens the economies of those countries from which migrants depart.”
The Italian deputy leader earlier pledged his support to the Gillets Jaunes movement, claiming his party would provide the group with “assistance.”
But on Tuesday, EU chief Pierre Moscovici issued a stark warning to Italy’s leaders currently entwined in a row over Paris’ presence in the African continent, branding the remarks made by Mr. Di Maio as “silly,” “inappropriate” and “absurd”.
Last year, Italy's most prominent deputy prime ministers, Luigi Di Maio, threatened to not pay the EU's common coffers unless bloc agrees to share the burden of the influx of illegal migrants.
Di Maio’s comments were directed at the European Commission, the main executive body of the EU, ahead of Friday’s emergency meeting in Brussels about the migrant crisis
“The soft line doesn’t work,” Di Maio said.
“The hard line will be to withhold funds if they don’t listen to us.”