France has warned Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio not to interfere in the country’s politics after he met French “yellow-vest” protesters.
“This new provocation is unacceptable between neighbouring countries and partners at the heart of the EU,” the French foreign ministry said.
Luigi Di Maio, who also leads the populist, anti-establishment 5-Star party, said he met yellow vests leader Christophe Chalencon and candidates on the grassroots movement’s list for European Parliament elections in May.
The move was also described by France’s foreign ministry as undermining relations between the two European neighbours.
“Mr. Di Maio, who holds government responsibilities, must take care not to undermine, through his repeated interferences, our bilateral relations, in the interest of both France and Italy.”
Oggi con @ale_dibattista abbiamo fatto un salto in Francia e abbiamo incontrato il leader dei gilet gialli Cristophe Chalençon e i candidati alle elezioni europee della lista RIC di Ingrid Levavasseur.
Il vento del cambiamento ha valicato le Alpi. pic.twitter.com/G8E0ypLalX
— Luigi Di Maio (@luigidimaio) February 5, 2019
After the meeting, Mr. Di Maio tweeted that “winds of change” had crossed the Alps and mentioned his intention to have another meeting in Rome.
We have a lot of common positions and values, such as the defence of citizens, social rights, direct democracy and environment,” a statement issued by 5-star said.
“There is enthusiasm, we will meet soon in Rome.”
The movement, who are referred to as the “gilets jaunes” in France, have been holding at times violent anti-government protests each week across the country for the past few months.
Mr Di Maio had previously publicly stated his admiration for the movement and has urged them not to “give up”.