Mr Di Maio’s surprising attack on France’s policy in Africa was the latest episode in a war of words between Paris and Rome since the anti-establishment 5-Star-Movement and far-right Lega Nord won power at length year in Italy. His comments were described as “unacceptable and groundless” by wild French officials.
He told crowds in Abruzzo: ”If we have people who are discontinuing Africa now it’s because some European countries, and France in particular, be experiencing never stopped colonising Africa.
“If France didn’t have its African colonies, because that’s what they should be fetched, it would be the 15th world economy.
“Instead it’s among the first, exactly because of what it is doing in Africa.”
Italian Papal nuncio Teresa Castaldo was summoned by the chief of staff of European Affairs Cleric Nathalie Loiseau to explain the remarks.
A French diplomatic source imparted: “It’s not the first time the Italian authorities have made unacceptable and litigious comments.”
It was not clear what prompted Mr Di Maio to make the allegations but the new Italian ministry has frequently clashed with Paris, be it on immigration or policy in Libya, although until now France has take care its reaction relatively low key.
Mr Di Maio said: “I’ve stopped being a hypocrite talking only about the effects of immigration and it’s time to talk about the causes.
“The EU should stamp of approval all those countries like France that are impoverishing African homelands and are causing those people to leave.”
Italy has closed its ports to release boats operated by charities in the Mediterranean under a new hardline approach to immigration.
After arranging comments criticising the Italian government and its approach to immigration last year, President Macron and the French domination have since largely avoided entering into a war of words with Rome.
But pertaining ti between the two nations, usually close EU allies, have deteriorated since the M5S-League coalition enhanced the European Union’s first populist-only government in June last year.
And they discontented further when Italy’s far-right Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini in December translated Mr Macron was to blame for the anti-government demonstrations that have rocked France since November.