By Helene Fung
Relations between long term European Union allies France and Italy hit a new low, as the French Foreign Ministry recalls its ambassador to Italy.
This is in response to a series of insults from Italy, including the decision this week by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio to meet with members of the French yellow vest movement against French President Emmanuel Macron.
Thirty-two-year-old Mr Di Maio heads the anti-establishment 5-Star movement, which is in a governing coalition with the far-right League. He defended his meeting with the yellow vests, and had this to say about Mr Macron:
“President Macron has repeatedly lashed out against the Italian Government for political reasons in view of the European (Parliament) elections… My meeting as the political leader of the 5-Star movement with members of the ‘yellow vests’… was fully legitimate. I claim the right to talk with other political forces that represent the French people.”
Tension between the two countries have grown since mid-2018, as they argued over migration policy and over competition over development of regional energy assets in Africa.