France recalls Italy ambassador after worst verbal onslaught `since the war`

"They impose a great national debate on us during the week and shoot at us on the weekend

France is recalling its ambassador to Italy amid mounting tensions, after Di Maio met with French yellow vest protesters and offered to support their anti-government movement.

"Having disagreements is one thing, but manipulating the relationship for electoral aims is another", it added, calling Italy's attacks without precedent since World War Two.

Although Macron, as recently as last week, brushed off the substance of their critiques, the tension erupted when di Maio met with two "yellow vest" protesters in Rome on Tuesday, including Ingrid Levavasseur, who is the lead candidate on a yellow vest ticket for the European elections in May.

France has urged Italy to resume relations "worthy of our common destiny".

In response to France's move, Salvini said he was open to meeting with Macron and the French government, but insisted that France must stop sending back migrants at the border and stop penalizing Italian workers in France.

The "yellow vest" protests against fuel taxes began in rural and small-town France in late November, before ballooning into a wider revolt against Macron's policies and governing style.

French President Emmanuel Macron blasted Rome for refusing to take in a migrant rescue ship carrying hundreds of people.

Di Maio accused Paris of creating poverty in Africa, while Salvini accused France of doing nothing to bring peace to Libya.

"The winds of change have crossed the Alps", Di Maio wrote.

In a statement on Wednesday (6 February), a French foreign ministry spokesman described the meeting with the yellow vests, as a provocation that "is unacceptable between neighbouring countries and partners at the heart of the EU".

Italy's elections last March swept away a center-left government whose prime minister was close to Macron, replacing it with an awkward coalition of Di Maio's eclectic Five Star and the anti-immigration League.

De Maio's fellow deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, has lambasted President Emmanuel Macron directly by saying he is "close, with all my the French people, the millions of men and women who live in France under a awful government and bad president". She said such measures won't resolve the political crisis brewing in the country.

In an interesting development, it's now Salvini who rather than trying to outdo his rival is instead extending an olive branch to Macron: "We are ready and available with a constructive spirit to turn the page for the good of our people".

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