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17 Aug, 2018 11:40

‘Let’s make things clear’: EU bites back at Salvini’s claim that it’s responsible for Genoa tragedy

‘Let’s make things clear’: EU bites back at Salvini’s claim that it’s responsible for Genoa tragedy

The EU has hit back at claims by Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini that the bloc is to blame for the Genoa motorway bridge collapse that killed 39 people on Tuesday, plunging the country into a state of emergency.

Some 24 hours after the tragic event in the northern city, Salvini, leader of the Euroskeptic Northern League, said the EU’s spending restrictions had limited Italy’s ability to invest in its infrastructure.

In his latest sting at the EU, Salvini said the collapse of the 100-meter-long stretch of concrete on the A10 motorway brought into question whether it “makes sense” to follow the 27-member bloc’s rules, saying the safety of Italians is not a “trade-off.”

READ MORE: Salvini says EU budget rules risk safety of Italians after Genoa bridge collapse

However, the EU’s budget commissioner said the bloc had actually encouraged the Mediterranean country to invest in infrastructure, handing billions to Italy in development funds.

“It is very human to look for somebody to blame when a terrible accident like Genoa happens. Still, it’s good to look at the facts,” Gunther Oettinger said on his Twitter account.

He pointed out that €2.5 billion ($2.8 billion) had been provided for “roads and trains in Italy” since 2011, while in April the Commission approved an investment plan for Italian motorways valued at €8.5 billion ($9.7 billion), which covered the Genoa area where the bridge collapsed.

Meanwhile, Italy’s Ministry for Transport said late on Thursday that it would give road operator Autostrade per l’Italia – responsible for maintaining the motorway – 15 days to prove it had taken all necessary steps to ensure the safety of the bridge. It has also called on the company to take full responsibility and foot the bill for the rebuilding of the bridge, which should be carried out within a limited time frame. 

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