The European Union’s economics affairs commissioner drew criticism on Thursday after he claimed that “little Mussolinis” might be emerging in Europe, in a reference to the rise of the far-right. Pierre Moscovici’s statement in Paris drew a sharp response from Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Reuters reported.

“Fortunately there is no sound of jackboots, there is no Hitler, [but maybe there are] small Mussolinis,” Moscovici, a former French minister, said. “That remains to be seen.”

“Instead of censuring his [country] France that pushed back migrants at Ventimiglia, bombed Libya and broke European parameters, he attacks Italy and mouths off about the many little Mussolinis wandering Europe,” Salvini, who heads Italy’s anti-immigrant Lega Nord party, said according to ANSA news agency. “Let him wash his mouth out before insulting Italy, the Italians and their legitimate government.”

Italy Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio, a leader of the 5-Star Movement which is in alliance with the Lega Nord, said Muscovici should not dare to call Italy’s governing parties “little Mussolinis”.