European Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici (L) and Italian Deputy PM Matteo Salvini (R)
© Reuters
European Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici (L) and Italian Deputy PM Matteo Salvini (R)
Italian Deputy PM Matteo Salvini fired back at top EU economic official Pierre Moscovici, telling him to "wash his mouth out" following Moscovici's remark on the spread of "little Mussolinis" in Europe.

Moscovici, the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, voiced his fear over the rise of right-wing forces in some countries, comparing the situation to the WWII era.

"Fortunately there is no sound of jackboots, there is no Hitler, (but maybe there are) small Mussolinis. That remains to be seen," he told reporters in Paris on Thursday.

The remark did not go down well in Rome, with deputy PM and head of the anti-immigration, Eurosceptic Northern League Party Matteo Salvini firing back at the EU official.

"He should wash his mouth out before insulting Italy, the Italians and their legitimate government," Salvini said in a statement. He also advised France, Moscovici's home country, to take a look at its own deeds, like bombing Libya, instead of castigating Italy's policy on immigration.

The furious response was posted by Salvini's party, together with a satirical picture of Moscovici being kissed by EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.


Paris and Rome recently locked horns over immigration. In late August, Salvini backed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a vocal critic of the EU's handling of migration issues. The duo lambasted French President Emmanuel Macron during a joint press conference in Milan on August 28. The French leader hit back, saying that if the two wanted to see him "as their main opponent, they were right to do so."

Budapest has been at odds with pro-immigration politicians in Brussels, however, the EU recently moved further than just criticism of Orban. On Wednesday, the EU Parliament agreed to trigger the so-called 'nuclear option' Article 7 against Hungary over its migration policies and "media suppression." The measure, if fully implemented, would strip Budapest of its voting rights in the EU Council. The move has been denounced by Hungary and branded "petty revenge of pro-immigration politicians" by Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.