With Italian and French leaders at each other’s throats since World War II, the menace of damaging fallout for business is growing day-by-day. These rivalry between the two euro-area powers run long and deep. It made President Emmanuel Macron’s withdrawal of the French ambassador to Rome. It’s an isolating moment for the EU as the regional economy is weakening.
“You have to go back to the war to find relations this bad,” said Marc Lazar, a history professor at Sciences Po University in Paris.
The feud between Italy and Macron’s two deputy premiers, Luigi di Maio and Matteo Salvini, is going beyond of European Parliament elections in May. Let’s take a look what’s dividing Italy and France and the stakes involved.
Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas are France’s two biggest banks. Most importantly, they own retail units in Italy which anticipate they’re exposed maximum if a selloff in Italy begins to affect the overall economy and spread out thoroughly through Europe’s financial system. Italy is known to be France’s third-biggest market whereas France is considered Italy’s second-largest.
$10 Billion Train Link
France is planning to move ahead with a high-speed rail link between Turin and Lyon, which predict to have a 57-kilometer tunnel passing through the Alps base. That’s uncertain as Italy’s anti-establishment government overtook power in last year: Di maio is against it and called it as a waste of money while Salvini favors the project. More than 800 million euros in approved EU funding are vulnerable risk due to the holdup.
Pummeling French-German ‘Axis’
On daily-basis, Di Maio and Salvini denounce what they analyze as Franco-German dominance over the European Union members. Salvini’s League has criticized a cooperation treaty signed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Macron. Salvini’s party and Di Maio’s Five Star wish to reform or revise EU treaties with newer rules and regulations for deficit limits and national budgets.
Finger-Pointing on Migration
Macron slammed Salvini for not allowing a migrant boat from landing in Italy. Then denied to let the ship dock in France citing global rules on the first country of arrival. Salvini called Macron a hypocrite. In a response, he retweeted videos of French police preventing migrants at the French-Italian border, stating Italy has no lessons to learn from France.