Brussels hits back as FURIOUS ROW ERUPTS after Salvini blames EU for Genoa bridge collapse — Информационное Агентство "365 дней"

Brussels hits back as FURIOUS ROW ERUPTS after Salvini blames EU for Genoa bridge collapse


The eurosceptic Italian deputy prime minister levelled the blame against Brussels within hours of the tragedy, provoking an angry response from the EU.

Mr Salvini suggested “external constraints” had prevented Italian authorities from being able to spend funds to ensure safe roads and schools.

The Commission, the EU’s executive body, returned fire, insisting Italy had benefited from billions of euros of investment for infrastructure projects, including roads.

At least 39 people were killed and 15 injured when the busy motorway bridge collapsed in the northern Italian city of Genoa.

A 50m section of the Morandi Bridge crashed down as around 35 vehicles made the crossing. Cars and huge slabs of reinforced concrete crashed down onto two warehouses, train tracks and a riverbed below, according to fire brigade sources.

We will not engage in any political finger pointing

European Commission spokesman

More than 300 rescue workers were drafted in to use heavy machinery and dogs to search for survivors in the horrific wreckage below where the bridge once stood.

In the wake of the disaster, Mr Salvini promised that anyone found to be responsible for the bridge’s collapse would be held to account.

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He said: “I have crossed that bridge hundreds of times. Now, as an Italian citizen, I will do everything to get names and surnames of managers responsible, past and present, because it is unacceptable to die like that in Italy.”

The Italian interior minister added: “If external constraints prevent us from spending to have safe roads and schools, then it really calls into question whether it makes sense to follow these rules.

Genoa bridge collapse salvini eu

“There can be no trade-off between fiscal rules and the safety of Italians.”

After Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sent a message of condolence to those Italian families who had lost loved ones during the bridge collapse, Brussels began to dismantle Mr Salvini’s comments.

A Commission spokesman said: “We will not engage in any political finger pointing.

“The Commission is in close contact with the national authorities conducting the investigation and stands ready to provide any necessary assistance.”

They reiterated the level of Brussels spending Italy is set to receive as part of the 2014-2020 budget in order to build and repair its transport infrastructure.

The spokesman added: “Over the 2014-2020 period, Italy is set to receive around €2.5 billion under European Structural and Investment Funds for investments in network infrastructures, such as roads or rail.

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“In April 2018, the Commission also approved under EU State aid rules an investment plan for Italian motorways, which will enable around €8.5 billion of investments to go ahead, including in the Genoa region.”

Italy, the third-largest economy in the Eurozone, has a public debt second only to Greece’s, which continues to cause concern around EU-mandated fiscal targets.

Because of the instability “Italy is one of the main beneficiaries of the flexibility within the stability and growth pact”, said the Commission spokesman.

“This has allowed Italy to invest and spend much more in recent years.”

Rome’s newly installed government, led by League and the Five Star Movement, has pledged to increase public investment in infrastructure.

Italy spent more than €14 billion on its roads in 2006 but that dropped to less than €4bn by 2010, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The figures cover spending on new transport construction and the improvement on existing networks.

Spending began to increase again in 2013, when Italy’s total spend was less than Spain, Germany, France and the UK.

Genoa bridge collapse

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