The Italian deputy Prime Minister blamed France for causing poverty in Africa through its colonialist policies, which in turn has fuelled the phenomenon of migration to Europe.
The row between Italy and France over migration and foreign policy has taken another turn after France summoned Italy's ambassador, saying that the comments made by the Italian deputy prime minister attacking France were "unacceptable and groundless."
Luigi di Maio, who is the deputy Prime Minister of Italy, blamed France for orchestrating the economic mess in Africa that forces Africans to migrate to Europe. He attacked French policies in Africa, saying that these were part of the colonization process which France is not letting go of, and this raised the ire of France.
Paris and Rome have frequently clashed over migration and foreign policy. Reuters and AFP reported that European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau summoned Teresa Castaldo, Italy's ambassador to France, on Monday afternoon regarding instigative remarks by Di Maio on Saturday.
France has created poverty in Africa, and as a result of this it has fuelled migration to Europe, according to Luigi di Maia.
"If we have people who are leaving Africa now, it's because some European countries, France in particular, have never stopped colonizing Africa," said Di Maio. "If France didn't have its African colonies, because that's what they should be called, it would be the 15th largest world economy. Instead it's among the first, exactly because of what it is doing in Africa."
Differences in ideologies have often resulted in an exchange of words between Paris and Rome.
DW reports that "Italy's new government, composed of Di Maio's Five Star Movement and Italy's anti-immigrant League party, has clashed with France over several issues ranging from immigration to African policy. It is a dramatic diplomatic shift after Italy's previous center-left administration, which maintained close ties with French authorities."
France's captive policies in Africa have hindered economic growth and colonialism has always been perpetuated. France controls the CFA Franc, a currency used in West and Central Africa, through its Treasury.
"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," Luigi di Maia said.
"If Europe wants to be brave, it must have the courage to confront the issue of decolonization in Africa."
However, others argue that with the growing influence of China on the continent, France's impact is on the wane.
Header image credit: DW
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