12:48 GMT24 October 2020
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - French President Emmanuel Macron is constantly meddling in Rome’s affairs via open support for the opposition Democratic Party, Fabio Castaldo, the head of Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) delegation in the European Parliament, told Sputnik.

    "French President Macron constantly intervenes in Italian politics, by siding with the Democratic Party, now in opposition in Italy. He even signed ‘political manifestos’ with [former party leader and ex-Prime Minister] Matteo Renzi," Castaldo, who is also a European Parliament vice-president, said.

    Castaldo noted that the meeting with the yellow vests took place as the movement "is trying to be constructively constituted and to present itself to the European elections," adding that "we totally reject any form of violence."

    "We will continue to work with all those European forces that share the need to renew the democratic life of our countries from the bottom, thanks to instruments of participatory democracy. If someone in power is afraid of such a change because he sees the present system of consolidated power crumbling away, too bad! The problem is certainly his and not ours," he added.

    READ MORE: Number of Yellow Vest Protesters Detained in Paris Exceeded 50 — Reports

    On Thursday, Paris announced that it was recalling its ambassador in Italy for consultations due to Rome’s "repeated accusations" and "attacks" against the country. The move came after Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio and Castaldo met with the leaders of the yellow vests earlier in the week. Following the meeting, Di Maio said his party shared many values with the French protest movement, — which has morphed over months from the November protests against fuel tax hikes into wider outcry against liberal economic policies and is planning to take part in the European Parliament elections in May.

    Relations between Rome and Paris have deteriorated after the coalition of M5S and the right-wing Lega party came to power in Italy last year. Since that, the two countries’ leaderships have exchanged multiple barbs over many issues.

    Migration has emerged as another contentious issue for France and Italy. The latter’s refusal to open ports for undocumented migrants rescued at sea by non-governmental organizations sparked harsh criticism on behalf of Paris, with Macron accusing Rome of "cynicism and irresponsibility."

    Rome has also been critical of Paris, with Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, for instance, having recently reportedly called Macron "bad president."


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