News World Italian Senate backs train link with France, widening coalition rift

Italian Senate backs train link with France, widening coalition rift

The Italian Senate on Wednesday rejected a motion by one of the ruling coalition parties, the 5-Star Movement, to block an alpine rail link with France, paving the way for the long-contested project to continue.

The planned line, meant to connect the Italian city of Turin with Lyon in France, includes a 58-km  tunnel through the Alps. It is fiercely opposed by 5-Star but supported by its coalition partner, the right-wing League, and by most other parties in parliament.

The upper house of parliament rejected the 5-Star’s motion by 181 votes to 110.

The 5-Star Movement is the largest party in parliament but it was outvoted by the combined forces of the League and opposition parties from the left and right.

A subsequent motion by the opposition Democratic Party, in favour of the TAV, was passed by 180 votes to 109.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said last month that new financial offers from the European Union and France had made the infrastructure, known as the TAV, less costly for Italy, and it would now cost more to block it than to complete it.

Italy then wrote to the European Union pledging to go ahead with it, according to the European Parliament president David Sassoli.

The TAV, which has been repeatedly held up by protests and bottlenecks since it was first planned some 30 years ago, is among a raft of issues that have divided the League and 5-Star in recent months, as the two parties have squabbled incessantly.

5-Star says tunnelling through the Alps hurts the environment and the project is a waste of money that would be better spent on upgrading Italy’s existing transport network.

The League says it will create jobs and promote growth, and shifting freight from road to rail is environmentally friendly.

League leader Matteo Salvini said on Tuesday that tensions with 5-Star meant the government could soon collapse, and the parliamentary debate ahead of the Senate vote exposed the growing gulf between the two parties.

While 5-Star has accused the League of disloyalty by forming a block with the opposition, the rightist party said 5-Star would be to blame for any rupture in the coalition.

“Those who vote no today take the political responsibility for the choices which will follow in the coming days and months,” said the League’s Senate leader Massimiliano Romeo, in a thinly veiled threat to bring down the government.

Salvini and 5-Star Leader Luigi Di Maio both left the Senate after the vote without speaking to reporters.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

181 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday

The Health Ministry announced 181 new COVID-19 cases on 27 October, out of 3,589 laboratory tests, taking confirmed infections to 3,817. The break-down of new...

President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader to hold first informal meeting next Tuesday

President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar will hold their first informal meeting on the 3rd of...

FM: Turkey’s actions not conducive to Guterres’ efforts over Cyprus

Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said on Tuesday that Turkey’s illegal actions undermine peace and stability in the region and are not conducive to...

State Health Services Organization confirms hiring of nurses

The State Health Services Organization confirmed today to the nurses’ trade unions that the decision for the hiring of new nurses to man Hospitals...

200,000 rapid COVID-19 tests ordered

The Health Ministry announced that 200,000 antigen rapid COVID-19 tests have been ordered within the framework of the measures taken to manage the new...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...