Luigi di Maio accused France of fuelling migration by damaging the economies of African states
France has summoned Italy's ambassador after the Italian deputy prime minister accused the French of exploiting Africa and fuelling migration.
On Sunday, Luigi di Maio called on the European Union to impose sanctions on France for its policies in Africa.
He said France had “never stopped colonising tens of African states”.
Italy and France have previously clashed on issues linked to migration. Italy is the destination for thousands seeking a new life in Europe.
Last year, France criticised Italy for not allowing rescue boats carrying migrants in the Mediterranean to dock. Italian officials responded by accusing France itself of refusing to accept migrants.
Mr Di Maio, leader of the Five Star Movement (M5S) which governs in coalition with the far-right League party, made his latest comments during a visit to central Italy at the weekend.
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