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

UK helps employers with slow phase-in of job shield costs

British finance minister Rishi Sunak offered fresh help to employers hit by the coronavirus shutdown on Friday, announcing that future contributions they must make...

One new Covid-19 case from repatriations

There was one new Covid-19 case in Cyprus, the Health Ministry said on Friday, from a total of 2363 tests, bringing the total number...

Limassol: Dead body found in warehouse

  A body has been found in the light shaft of a warehouse on Nicos Georgiou street in Limassol, philenews reports. It said the body was...

Holy Synod to allow weddings during pre-Christmas fasting period

As a result of Covid-prompted wedding postponements, the Holy Synod has decided to allow wedding ceremonies during the pre-Christmas fasting period this year until...

President to discuss phase 3 with scientific advisors on Tuesday

  The team of scientists advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak are due to hold a new meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday...

Taste

Local cuisine: An introduction

Rich in fresh ingredients and tasty herbs, offers the very best of Mediterranean culinary delights. Head out to a tavern and feast on a...

Spiced lamb with beetroot salad and scented yoghurt

Lay the lamb on a tray, skin side down. Rub with crushed garlic, sprinkle with spices and ground pistachios, wrap in plastic wrap and...

Easy seafood pasta with white wine sauce

Ingredients: 2-3 tbsp olive oil 1 garlic clove, chopped 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream 1/3 cup white wine 300g spaghetti, roughly broken 300-400g of...

Traditional salads that will blow your mind away

This traditional salads will make you actually love salads! Cyprus may be famous for souvla and kleftiko but if you try the traditional salads with...