"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.
"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.
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.
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."