January 23, 2019 / 7:39 AM / 3 months ago

Italy's Salvini says hopes Macron support dwindles at EU elections

ROME, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Wednesday said he hoped the French people would not choose President Emmanuel Macron's party at the European parliament elections later this year, heightening a dispute between Rome and Paris.

Relations between Italy and France, traditionally close allies, have grown frosty since the far-right League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement formed a coalition last year and took aim at pro-EU Macron's En Marche (On the Move) party.

Salvini, who is the leader of the League party, also said he is not concerned that the row will affect the government's effort to save troubled airline Alitalia .

Italian newspapers have reported that French-Dutch airline Air France-KLM is in talks with Rome to take a stake in Alitalia. (Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, editing by Steve Scherer)

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