Italy Govt Blames EU Shackles and Big Business for Deadly Bridge Disaster

Italy
ANDREA LEONI/AFP/Getty Images

Italy’s populist coalition government has taken aim at European Union diktats which curb public spending and big business negligence after the Genoa bridge disaster which has killed dozens.

“Italy must be able to spend the money needed to secure schools, motorways, and hospitals without any crazy European constraints to prevent it. The safety of the Italian people comes first,” declared Deputy Prime Minister and Miniter of the Interior Matteo Salvini, who leads the nationalist Lega party which makes up one half of the populist coalition, on his popular Facebook page.

‘”Many motorways need maintenance but often we are told we cannot spend money because of European constraints — limits, deficits, the GDP, debt,” he explained elsewhere.

“We should ask ourselves whether respecting these limits is more important than the safety of Italian citizens. Obviously for me, it is not,” he added, insisting that future economic measures “will have to put at their core the security of Italians, their right to life, right to work, right to health.”

Salvini also had harsh words for Autostrade, the private corporation responsible for maintaining the collapsed bridge, along with Co-Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, who leads the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) which makes up the other half of Italy’s populist coalition.

Di Maio claimed Austostrade was escaping censure in the mainstream media because of the stakes the Benneton family which controls it holds in the newspaper industry.

“Autostrade should have carried out maintenance and did not. It charges the highest tolls in Europe and pays really low taxes in Luxembourg,” he said — another reference to European Union regulations; this time the ones which allow corporations to off-shore much their tax obligations to other member-states using various methods, in particular to the tax haven of Luxembourg where President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker was finance minister and then prime minister for many years.

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