Tensions between France and Italy have reached a new high as the Elysee has taken the drastic decision of recalling its ambassador in Rome. Emmanuel Macron's Government has accused Italian populist leaders of making "outrageous statements" and stirring the already strained situation with a series of aggressive decisions - including backing the Yellow Vest movement and accusing Paris of being responsible for Europe's migrant crisis.
France's foreign ministry said in a statement: "France has been, for several months, the target of repeated, baseless attacks and outrageous statements.
The ministry also argued the attacks launched by the politicians in Rome are without precedent since World War 2.
The statement continued: "Having disagreements is one thing, but manipulating the relationship for electoral aims is another.
"All of these actions are creating a serious situation which is raising questions about the Italian government's intentions towards France."
Italy's interior minister Matteo Salvini replied to the extraordinary move by France, saying Rome doesn't want to argue with Paris.
Explaining he is happy to meet Mr Macron, he added he is also ready to reset relations with France "for the good of our people".
But before doing that, France had to stop pushing migrants back into Italy, stop carrying out lengthy border checks that was blocking traffic at the frontier and hand over around 15 Italian leftist militants who have taken refuge in France in recent decades.
French officers were caught taking two asylum-seekers over the French border and leaving them in Italy in October, sparking the ire of Mr Salvini.
France was left livid after Italy's deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio and Mr Salvini's Government partner held a high-level meeting on French soil on Tuesday with some of the leading members of the yellow vest movement.
The yellow vest demonstrators have brought Mr Macron's leadership to the brink by relentlessly marching against his policies since mid-November.
The French foreign ministry branded the meeting an "unacceptable" provocation, saying: “This new provocation is not acceptable between neighbouring countries and European Union partners.
“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.”
During the meeting, Mr Di Maio said his party, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), shared the “same spirit” as France’s yellow vests and offered them “the support you need”.