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Italy’s Salvini says against nationalizing motorways, raps Atlantia


ROME (Reuters) – Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Thursday he was against nationalizing the motorway network but that a mix of public and private management might be considered.

FILE PHOTO: Italy’s Matteo Salvini attends a news conference about a trilateral meeting, during an informal meeting of EU Home Affairs Ministers in Innsbruck, Austria, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

Some members of the coalition of Salvini’s right-wing League party and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement have suggested the state should take over the motorways, after a bridge collapsed in Genoa last week and killed 43 people.

“I am not in favor of nationalizations,” Salvini said in a radio interview, but he added that the terms of state concessions needed to be reviewed and he was open to the possibility of “a mix of public and private management.”

Salvini also attacked infrastructure group Atlantia, which controls toll-road operator Autostrade per l’Italia, saying he was “more disconcerted every day by the attitude” of the company.

Atlantia said on Wednesday it wanted to assess the effect of politicians’ comments on its share price. The stock has plunged since the bridge disaster amid government threats to revoke the concession of Autostrade.

“… Yesterday (Atlantia) said it was looking at the comments made about it, as though the impact on its shares wasn’t caused by the collapse of the bridge but by the declarations from me or (5-Star leader Luigi) Di Maio,” Salvini said.

As the government continued to debate the future of the motorways, Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli on Thursday dismissed the suggestion that state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) could take a stake in Autostrade.

“I have no knowledge (of the idea) and I understand it has already been denied by the economy ministry,” Toninelli, a member of 5-Star, told the newspaper La Verita.

The possibility of the state taking a controlling stake in the motorways through CDP was being considered by the ruling coalition, a government source and a source close to the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Reporting By Gavin Jones; editing by Giulia Segreti, Larry King

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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