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25 Jan, 2019 22:13

‘They are taking us for a ride’: Italian PM slams France & Germany’s ‘hypocritical’ role in EU

‘They are taking us for a ride’: Italian PM slams France & Germany’s ‘hypocritical’ role in EU

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called out France and Germany in a hard-hitting interview Friday, fired up over the countries’ efforts to land Berlin a seat on the UN Security Council.

“Did Germany lose or win WWII?” Conte asked rhetorically, emphasizing, in his typical no holds barred style, that the seat had been intended for the EU as a whole.

The populist PM made the comments in an interview with local media after he was asked to comment on French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recently signed “friendship treaty.” The so-called Treaty of Aachen includes a provision highlighting Paris and Berlin’s stated priority of securing a permanent seat on the powerful UN body. The UN General Assembly gave Germany temporary UNSC membership in June, alongside four other countries.

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Conte suggested that the two are “only thinking of their national interests,” despite their “empty European rhetoric.”

The truth is that we have caught France and Germany with their hands in the cookie jar

Conte also made it clear that the new government in Rome would no longer let the long-time de-facto leaders of the EU treat Italy like a “poor relation,” boasting of his administration’s widespread popularity.

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The non-party-affiliated former academic leads Italy’s anti-establishment coalition government which was elected this summer on a platform of tightening immigration controls, Euroscepticism and opposition to austerity. Such positions have naturally put the coalition at odds with other European nations. Relations between Italy and France have been particularly turbid as a result of disagreements over European immigration policy.

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