July 26, 2018

Entire FS board dismissed by new Italian minister

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Italy's minister for infrastructure and transport, Mr Danilo Toninelli. Italy's minister for infrastructure and transport, Mr Danilo Toninelli.

ITALY’s new minister for infrastructure and transport, Mr Danilo Toninelli, announced on Facebook on July 25 that he has signed a decree dismissing the entire board of Italian State Railways (FS) including CEO, Mr Renato Mazzoncini.


“We are the government of change and we think that there is no industrial activity, especially if produced at the service of citizens, that does not have an ethical implication,” Toninelli said on Facebook. “Now the bar moves on regional trains and commuters in terms of safety and quality.”

Toninelli has cast doubt on whether Anas will remain a subsidiary of FS. Anas, the state-owned highway maintenance and construction company, was taken over by FS at the end of 2017.

Toninelli says his ministry has started a review of projects like the Turin - Lyon high-speed (TAV) project which will include a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

“When I study dossiers like that of Turin-Lyon TAV, I can only feel anger and disgust for how the money of Italian citizens has been wasted,” Toninelli said on Facebook on July 24. “The squandering of public money has been enormous to promote the usual potentates, certain political-economic cliques and even organised crime.

“The international part of Turin - Lyon in theory should cost a total of €9.6bn, divided between the European Union at 40%, Italy at 35% and France at 25%,” Toninelli continued. “But, already in 2007, there were important economists and research centres providing for final expenditure between €17bn and €20bn. It was then certified by the French court of auditors in August 2012 which indicated a colossal figure of €26.1bn. An Enormity!

“As a result of the first agreements, the cost of the work was particularly burdensome for our country, despite insisting that Italy [is only responsible for] 12.5km of the 57.5km Mont Cenis base tunnel. One of the most scandalous aspects is right there: our rulers of the time decided to take on the greater part of expenditure to convince France, which was rightly reluctant to build the line, and because in the last 20 years the exchange of goods between Italy and France has had a constant decline.”

Referring to the review of the project, Tonelli says: “The environmental, social and economic impacts will tell us if it makes sense or not to carry on with a badly-born project.”

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