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France ready to surrender extreme-left activists to please Italy

Cesare Battisti. Picture Globo

Fighting against inequalities was seen as the romantic thing to do in France. But not any longer. Macron may have a message for the Yellow Vests here….

Back in the 1980s, Italy was plagued with attacks perpetrated by the extreme-left.  They stole money to finance their ideology and killed a number of people – a jeweler, policemen. Blood crimes were numerous. But seen from France, this violence did not seem that bad.

“There was a kind of romantics from the left” a member of the French government said. Fighting for more equality in a country shown as ultra-capitalist, with fascists temptations, seemed to be OK if you decided to stop the violence at some point.

A few “activists”, as France still call them, found shelter in France, protected by the “Mitterrand doctrine”: if they had cut with their past, they should not be prosecuted.

In 1990, France refused to send back Cesare Battisti, the most well-known of them. He finally moved to Brazil, were he was arrested last year before being sent back to Italy.

According to Italy, 30 “terrorists” live abroad, half of them in France. Lega leader Matteo Salvini reproaches France with having sheltered them for years.

But this is over. After Italian president Mattarella met with Emmanuel Macron last week, the French attitude seems to be shifting.

Nathalie Loiseau said in an interview with “Le Monde” that extradition requests will be honored in the future. France has received the first formal extradition requests this week.

There might be a message for the Yellow vests here. Fighting against inequalities is not romantic anymore in France. And it won’t make legitimate any kind of violence.

That is a huge shift, and it comes during a political campaign for European elections. The sign is clearly a right-wing shift from the République en Marche party, whose leader Emmanuel Macron once was a counsellor to François Hollande. 

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