On Monday this week, Italy’s ambassador to France was summoned to visit the French Foreign Ministry over what they (the ministry) termed an “unacceptable and groundless” comments made by the Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio.
DP Maio said the French policies in Africa contributes a lot to the unending human migration from the continent towards Europe in search for employment. News sources including Reuters and the Agence France Presse reported that the Italian ambassador to France, Teresa Castaldo was summoned by the European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau on Monday afternoon over the remarks made by Italian DP Di Maio on Saturday.
Di Maio while making an address in the Abruzzo region in central Italy accused France of making policies in Africa that fueled widespread poverty and thus sparking Africans immigration into Europe.
“If we have people who are leaving Africa now, it’s because some European countries, France in particular, have never stopped colonizing Africa. 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,” said Di Maio.
The current ruling political outfit in Italy is made up the Five Stare Movement (to which Di Maio is a member) and the anti-immigrant League party. Unlike the previous ruling political outfit that was keen on maintaining close ties with France. The current outfit has on several occasions come to loggerheads with France over immigration and European policies in Africa.
On the wake of the summoning of Italian ambassador to France, Di Maio dismissed the notion a “diplomatic incident” between Italy and France. He also backtracked on his criticism of French policies in Africa and said it is a fact that Paris keeps manipulating the economies of 14 countries in Africa, which uses the CFA franc. A colonial-era currency back by the French 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.
If Europe wants to be brave, it must have the courage to confront the issue of decolonization in Africa,” said Di Maio.
In its own defense, France says the CFA franc brings monetary stability to the African nations that use it. However, in 2017, the French President Emmanuel Macron urged African governments to decide what they want to do with the currency.