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    France ‘Too Sensitive,’ Overreacts to Italy’s Comment on Africa Policy - Lega

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    ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) - Paris is "too sensitive," it is overreacting to the comments by Italy's deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, who slammed France’s policy on Africa, Paolo Grimoldi, a secretary for the right-wing Lega party in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    "The French are far too sensitive. If we compare the statement made by Macron and his government before and Di Maio’s statement, we clearly will see that the French are overreacting. We should have sent the French ambassador to Italy back to France after the French statements but we didn’t!" Grimoldi said.

    French President Emmanuel Macron has already clashed with the Italian government in the past, accusing Rome of "cynicism and irresponsibility" over its refusal to let a charity boat carrying migrants disembark in Italian ports.

    READ MORE: Are Poland and Italy Teaming up to Go After Brussels?

    According to Grimoldi, the French government may be trying to divert attention from ongoing Yellow Vest protests in France.

    "We all understand that Macron is in a very difficult situation right now due to the ongoing public protests. He doesn’t have the support among the French any longer so he is trying to shift people’s attention to outer enemy," Grimoldi said.

    The French Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned Italy's ambassador regarding remarks by Di Maio, who accused France of impoverishing Africa and thus fueling mass migration to Europe.

    The "Yellow Vests" movement began in mid-November in response to the government’s plan to raise fuel tax, with protests quickly turning violent. The French government backtracked on fuel price plan and proposed a series of concessions as well as a nation-wide debate on the issues important to the French, but the protests continued.

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