Jan 22, 2019 12:40 UTC
  • Italian 5-Star Movement leader and Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio
    Italian 5-Star Movement leader and Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio

Italy has once again accused France of continuing to exploit Africa, saying French policies are creating poverty and causing mass migration in the impoverished continent.

Speaking to journalists in the Italian capital of Rome on Monday, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio accused France of still treating a number of African countries as “vassal states” and said French policies were fueling large-scale migration to Europe.

The leader of Italy’s anti-migration 5-Star Movement also told reporters that France was manipulating the economies of the 14 African countries that use the CFA franc — a colonial-era currency backed 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,” Di Maio said. “If Europe wants to be brave, it must have the courage to confront the issue of decolonization in Africa.”

France argues that the CFA franc is a guarantee of financial stability, but others have attacked it as a colonial relic. French President Emmanuel Macron said in 2017 that it was up to African governments to decide what to do with the currency.

Earlier on Monday, the French Foreign Ministry had summoned Italy’s ambassador to the country over Di Maio’s previous remarks — on the weekend — in which he accused France of exploiting Africa and called on the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions on France over the issue.