Wednesday

17th Jul 2019

France warns Italy over 'yellow vests' interference

  • The French yellow vest movement kicked off three months ago (Photo: Olivier Ortelpa)

French authorities have condemned a meeting earlier this week held between Italy's deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio and the 'yellow vest' leadership.

In a statement on Wednesday (6 February), a French foreign ministry spokesman described the meeting with the yellow vests, as a provocation that "is unacceptable between neighbouring countries and partners at the heart of the EU".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"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," he said.

Di Maio, who also leads the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, had met with yellow-vest leaders Christophe Chalencon and Ingrid Levavasseur in the outskirts of Paris on Tuesday.

Di Maio after talks said that "winds of change" had appeared from across the Alps and that a new meeting would take place in Rome.

Although the two sides said they shared many of the same values on social rights and the environment, no official alliance appears to have been struck ahead of the European elections in May.

Levavasseur is a top yellow vest candidate for the May elections. The Five Star Movement, along with the eurosceptic British Ukip, make up the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy political group.

The yellow vest movement is directly challenging the French government following weeks of street protests against what it sees as the unfair treatment of the rural working class.

But the movement has also attracted racists and thugs whose anti-government protests have, at times, turned violent and intimidated journalists. Some protestors have also been injured by the French police.

French president Emmanuel Macron may reportedly attempt to quell the unrest with a rare referendum to be held on the same day as the European elections in May.

In December, he announced concessions totalling some €10bn for low wage earners, followed by national debates, but the yellow vest movement appears bent on its demands for a more direct say in national governance.

Prison suicide rates in France highest in Europe

Suicide rates per 10,000 inmates in 2017 in France stood at 12.6, higher than any other European country. The latest figures are part of a much bigger report out Tuesday by the Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe.

Who is the new EU parliament president, David Sassoli?

The 63-year-old centre-left Italian MEP was elected president of the European Parliament, with 345 votes. A former journalist, Sassoli has experience as a vice-president of the parliament, but is little known.

Parliament outmanoeuvred in EU top-post game

The European Parliament on Tuesday lost a years-long power struggle, and gave up winning more influence on European politics via the so-called Spitzenkandidat process it had championed.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory
  2. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts
  3. EU proposes yearly rule-of-law 'reviews'
  4. Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks
  5. What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?
  6. Is Golden Dawn's MEP head of a criminal organisation?
  7. Finland rejects call to end sponsorship of EU presidency
  8. MH17 five years on: when will Russia be punished?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us