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

Sign at the demonstration-

Sign at the demonstration-"We have defied'democratic rubber bullets mutilating grenades tear gas and truncheons

"The meeting comes after Di Maio reached out to the Yellow Vests, writing on his blog in January, "Yellow Vests, do not weaken!"

French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said the ambassador was being brought back for "consultations" and urged Italy in a statement to work to restore friendly relations worthy of "our common destiny".

Italian deputy prime ministers Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio have in the past months criticised French president Emmanuel Macron concerning issues ranging from migration to the gilets jaunes protests.

France is recalling its ambassador to Italy amid mounting tensions relating to yellow vest protesters.

Relations between the two countries - both founding members of the European Union - have been tense since Italy's populist Five Star Movement and right-wing League party formed a coalition government in June 2018. "To disagree is one thing, to exploit a relationship for electoral aims is another".

Salvini and De Maio angered Macron in particular by publicly supporting the "yellow vest" protesters who have taken to the streets to denounce high living costs and a perceived indifference by the government to rural and small-town France.

The yellow vest protests, hostile to the French government but especially to Macron, have upended French domestic politics for almost three months, campaigning against what they see as rising social inequality and a government largely indifferent to the concerns of ordinary people.

And the Italian government last autumn accused France of dumping underage migrants over the border without authorisation.

In France, as in Italy, politics has become deaf to the needs of citizens who have been kept out of the most important decisions affecting the people.

He invited them and other yellow vests to a follow-up meeting in Rome, claiming on Twitter that 'the wind of change has crossed the Alps'.

During a visit to Egypt last month, Macron sought to shrug off the sparring, calling Salvini and Di Maio's comments "insignificant" and adding that he dealt only with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

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".

Media captionFrance fuel protests: Who are the people in the yellow vests?

Arguments between the two countries started last summer, when the French President warned that populism had started to spread "like leprosy".

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