Why Italian Government is supporting French Yellow Protests (and a long history of rivlary between the two)

Nice piece by Dominique Mossi on the French-Italy rivalry:

Franco-Italian relations have always been complex. As the heir to the Roman Empire, Renaissance and Baroque Italy felt culturally superior to France and more refined. For Italians, the demonstrative way in which France exhibited its greatness and glory from the time of the Sun King (Louis XIV) to Napoleon made it appear “nouveau riche.” Even French support for Italian unification in the second half of the nineteenth century contributed to further misunderstanding, because France “received” Savoy and Nice in exchange for its precious help.

In more recent times, there had at least been some signs of mutual admiration. Italians looked enviously at France’s well-functioning state, while the French nodded approvingly at northern Italy’s dynamic network of small and medium-size companies. Today, however, this kind of reciprocal praise seems like the stuff of nostalgia.

The view from Rome these days is that France gives lectures on budgetary rigor but no longer practices it, as when French President Emmanuel Macron canceled his planned fuel-tax increase in the face of the Yellow Vest protests. But Italy’s current negative perception of France is above all emotional. From the crisis in Libya (a country Italy knows well) to the migrant crisis (which has hit Italy disproportionally hard), Italians feel deliberately ignored, if not abandoned, by the French – who, to make matters worse, also give the impression of looking down on their neighbors.

It is tempting to compare Italy’s criticism of France to the Yellow Vests’ hostility toward French elites. Both sentiments, after all, draw their strength from a feeling of humiliation in the face of perceived arrogance and privilege. The big question now is whether Italy’s populist present will be France’s future.

Clearly, this scenario is no longer inconceivable. Defenders of liberal democracy in France and elsewhere must, therefore, adopt and adapt the Yellow Vest motto and refuse to give in.

Hmm..

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