Italian employers are forcing on major projects

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Vincenzo Boccia, president of Confindustria (Italian Medef), in Rome, in September 2016.
Vincenzo Boccia, President of Confindustria (Italian Medef), Rome, September 2016. ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

This is a scene that could hardly be imagined anywhere but in Italy. Tuesday, December 4, in Trasta (north of Genoa), in the heart of the tunnel where the base tunnel of Terzo Valico is dug, a gigantic shipyard to cross the Apennines to connect the Ligurian city to the metropolis of Milan, was one celebrated by the Cardinal Archbishop of Genoa, Angelo Bagnasco, on the occasion of the Santa-Barba.

If the mayors of Genoa and Milan were present, as well as the governor of the region, the union leaders, the chiefs of the main companies involved in the construction site and a crowd of local notables, was not just to celebrate a tortured martyrdom in 308, in the Catholic tradition, considered the patron saint of architects, firemen and miners. It was above all to support the same political observations that the prelate was about to do in his homily.

After reading the Gospel, in front of a swarm of cameras, the cardinal said: "The Third Pass is an important, significant and national project that will continue because the opposite would be suicidal for the country."

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Silence poorly perceived

At the end of the mass, everyone was eager to convey the good word and the implicit message that contained: with his desire to stop all major Italian infrastructure projects, the 5-star movement (M5S, antisystem) prepares the downfall of the peninsula.

The day before, more than a thousand entrepreneurs gathered in Turin to listen to Vincenzo Boccia, president of Confindustria (Italian Medef), to express his doubts about the draft budget for 2019 and to reiterate his desire that the great works continue. In recent days, the opposition and the business community have increased the pressure on the Conte government to ease its positions in the conflict with Brussels and reduce fiscal slippage.

But it is on the theme of the great works and the person of the Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, who become more explicit: the League (of the extreme right), which he directs, is historically favorable to all these projects, and his silence faced with the demands of his coalition partner he is increasingly scarcely perceived within his militant base. The Deputy Minister of Infrastructures, Edoardo Rixi (Lega), was present at the Mass of Santa Barbara. He did not say a word to defend his tutelary minister, Danilo Toninelli (M5S).

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