Macron Attacks Italy’s New Govt, Warns Euroscepticism Is Spreading ‘Like Leprosy’

Italy
LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron has launched an astonishing attack on the populist, nationalist, and traditionally conservative political parties rising in Europe, angering Italy’s new government.

“I’m saying to you in the gravest terms: Many hate [the European Union], but they have hated it for a long time, and now you see them rise, like leprosy, all around Europe, in countries where we thought that they would never reappear,” said the Frenchman.

An investment banker at Rothschild & Cie Banque turned Socialist Party economy minister, Macron was heralded as the saviour of globalism when he launched a new ‘centrist’ party and saw off Marine Le Pen in the 2017 presidential elections.

“Our neighbours are saying the worst things and we’re getting used to it! They’re making the worst provocations and no one is horrified by that,” he warned — not referencing the new, anti-mass migration coalition government in Italy explicitly, but causing anger in Rome by the clear implication.

Luigi Di Maio, leader of the Five-Star Movement (M5S) which makes up one half of Italy’s new coalition government, responded robustly: “The real leprosy is the hypocrisy of someone who pushes back immigrants at Ventimiglia [on the Italian-French border] and then wants to preach to us.”

Matteo Salvini, who leads the nationalist Lega party which makes up the coalition’s other half, was equally firm, telling supporters in Terni: “If Macron were to stop insulting and concretely practise the generosity that fills his mouth by welcoming the thousands of immigrants that Italy has in recent years, it would be better for everyone.”

“We may be leper populists, but I will take lessons when he welcomes tens of thousands of migrants, then we can talk.”

He also dismissed the French leader as a “chatterbox” on social media, tweeting: “The insults of Macron do not affect me, they make me strong. While he speaks, I am working today to stop the trafficking of illegal immigrants in the Mediterranean and to restore the villas seized from the mafia to the Italian people.

“Some speak, some do. Big kisses!”

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