Maio Carps

So much for this famed EU solidarity we keep hearing about:

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.

“The EU should impose sanctions on France and all countries like France that impoverish Africa and make these people leave, because Africans should be in Africa, not at the bottom of the Mediterranean,” he said.

“If people are leaving today it’s because European countries, France above all, have never stopped colonising dozens of African countries.”

He said if it wasn’t for Africa, France would rank 15th among world economies, not in the top six.

Regardless of whether his remarks are fair or not, it does raise questions over just how united these EU nations are when it comes to stuff that actually matters:

The Italian ambassador to France, Teresa Castaldo, was summoned to the foreign ministry in Paris on Monday.

French diplomatic sources quoted by Italian news agency Ansa called Mr Di Maio’s remarks “hostile and without cause given the partnership between France and Italy in the European Union”.

But Mr Di Maio, who is also labour and economy minister, was unrepentant on Monday.

He accused France of manipulating the economies of African countries that use the CFA franc, a colonial-era currency backed by the French treasury.

“France is one of those countries that by printing money for 14 African states prevents their economic development and contributes to the fact that the refugees leave and then die in the sea or arrive on our coasts,” he said.

“If Europe wants to be brave, it must have the courage to confront the issue of decolonisation in Africa.”

I don’t know how much the CFA is contributing to the migrant crisis, but the stance of certain EU governments, not to mention well-funded NGOs, is certainly a large factor, yet Italy must bear the costs as they turn up on their coastline. Between a hostile Italian government and the gilets jaunes, Emmanuel Macron’s year really hasn’t got off to the best of starts, has it?

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19 thoughts on “Maio Carps

  1. The EU as a whole putting rather high, protectionist tariffs against goods imported from African (and other) countries doesn’t help either.As I understand it, raw coffee imported into EU does not have much of a tariff, however manufactured / processed coffee products – where the real value is – have a whacking great tariffs on them.

    If you love the EU, you hate Africa. I love saying that to EU lovin’ #RemainerStockholmSyndrome types. Watch ’em wriggle.

  2. As I understand it, raw coffee imported into EU does not have much of a tariff, however manufactured / processed coffee products – where the real value is – have a whacking great tariffs on them.

    Not so much any more: I did some research on this, and many African countries have agreements with the EU now to reduce tariffs to zero for these products. However, the EC is about to slap tariffs on Cambodia and Myanmar for imported rice, to protect European rice farmers. I confess, I didn’t know we had paddy fields in the EU but apparently we do.

  3. Ah, I see – thanks Tim. I shall amend my arguments appropriately! Still, the impulse for them is to slap tariffs on – although it sounds like the smack of reality has tempered their impulses to some degree. South of France and I think some bits of Italy (and possibly Spain) have rice grown in ’em – I think I saw it on a Rick Stein programme once. I think

  4. Eight countries apparently, including Italy (who first complained), Portugal, and Bulgaria.

  5. See here for more than you wanted to know about rice production, specifically:

    En Europe, le 1er pays producteurs est l’Italie (≈ 200 000T) suivie de l’Espagne dont la production est environ 2 fois inférieure.

    En France, les surfaces cultivées en 2016 ont été estimées à 13 600 ha pour une production de riz brut équivalant à 68 000 T. 80% environ de la surface est cultivée sous le label IGP Riz de Camargue (Indication Géographique Protégée (

    The amusing thing about the EU tariffs is that EU production is tiny and rice consumption in the EU is relies on significant supplementary imports. In consequence consumer prices for rice will increase to support a minuscule domestic industry which already carries preferential PGI status.

  6. Salvini has also piled in – this is all part of the hugely entertaining spat between the Italian govt and Macron.

  7. Tim – re Italian rice production – you’re obviously too young to have seen the 1950s film, the title of which I can’t recall, in which one scene shows Anna Magnani thigh-deep in a Po Valley rice-field.

  8. “Emmanuel Macron’s year really hasn’t got off to the best of starts, has it?”

    Absolutely, I just wonder if this was always in his script, particularly with the rapid manner in which he was catapulted into power. Does he have any chance whatsoever of remaining in power before the years out?

    I really hope that the yellow vests are a genuine grass roots individualist movement that have stood up for themselves and are simply saying enough is enough to the haute bourgeois in their Parisian palaces.

    I have heard what some French that have worked in North Africa think about the locals and do get it a little bit of what that Italian dude is banging on about.

    From where I am sitting, Europe itself is of to a shocking start with NATO looking increasingly fractured, Germany all of a sudden nearly in recession, Brexit, Eastern Europeans saying fuck you, Nord Stream, an increasingly empowered Erodgan threatening to dump millions of Syrian migrants into it, anti-Russian and anti-Iranian allegiance schisms amongst fellow European nations are quickly opening up, otherwise all is well for Macron and the Euro Project for 2019!

  9. Isn’t it rather good that solidarity includes not agreeing lock-step with everyone all the time? Instead we get at least some throught-provoking comments.

    Yes, we need more of a “hostile environment” to illegal migration, starting with a tighter med border, perhaps establishing and funding “safe zones” in North Africa. Maybe we should also stop underwriting the various CFA francs. Obviously, though, the governments of the remaining member countries think it’s a good idea (it might not be for the people of course, as those interests are even more rarely aligned in Africa than in Europe).

    Tons of rice growing in northern Italy, you just need to watch the landscape flying out of Malpensa when it’s wet. Even one entrepreneurial soul is growing rice in the Italian bit of Switzerland (it’s nice, comes with my recommendation if you can find it).

  10. The other thing about Italian nationalists is that at the end of the day they know where their security bread is buttered. Ideologically speaking and when it comes to their security it is actually an oddball for them that they are pretty cool about hosting yank nukes pointing at Russia and haven’t said boo about the new limited destruction US nuclear warheads that are coming to Europe in 2020. The ones that Putin said he would react to if they did. So if you think about it, the real security threat to the Italians aint from a tinny full of darkies in the Med, its the Russian strike 6 mins away, yet nationalists dont talk about this in the family anymore.

    Just saying.

  11. The richer Africa gets, the MORE migration to Europe will occur. It costs money to make the journey – quite a lot of money.

    By all means improve African economies, but make sure you strengthen border controls at the same time (or even begin to have some).

  12. Umbongo, I saw a clip of Benito once harvesting rice with the hardy peasant folk and as much as I love your average facist dictator Magnani had a greater effect on me.

  13. Maybe some of the less indoctrinated EU folks re beginning to wise up…from Reuters re no deal Brexit:

    “Ireland would be worst hit due to its close trade ties with Britain, followed by the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Germany would also suffer due to industrial supply chains.

    Looking at the trade impact alone, Ireland could lose almost 4 percent of its economy in a ‘no deal’ Brexit, but some big countries like France, Italy and Spain would be far less hurt.”

    Belgium – the land of the great Guy Verhofstadt – is going to lose big time. I know mny people say that the EU will take the economic pain in order to make a point – but you do start to wonder now that people are starting to really look at the implications

  14. “Can you describe for the court your present marital status?”

    “Estranged but not separated, your honor.”

    “Well, what are you waiting for?”

  15. That CFA Franc plays the same role between those 14 African countries plus France as the Euro plays between 18 European countries plus Germany. Premise 2: The CFA Franc has right royally screwed the economies of those 14 African countries in favour of France. Conclusion: Therefore, the Euro has right royally screwed the economies of those 18 European countries in favour of Germany. Let’s see how long it takes for the Europhiles to work that out.

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