(ANSA) - Bari, September 7 - The ILVA steelworks in the southern port city of Taranto is "a major factory that cannot close", Italian Premier Mario Monti said at the opening of the Fiera del Levante international trade fair in Bari on Friday. "I believe that sense of responsibility and effective cooperation between institutions can lead to a positive outcome to the problems facing a major factory that cannot close," said the prime minister in relation to the recent temporary shutdown of parts of the plant over long-running health and environmental concerns, but which ILVA representatives say will lead to a halt in production at the site and at other ILVA facilities as well. The company is now working with the judicial authorities and environment ministry experts to identify the measures needed to bring the steelworks in line with European and local environmental norms. Monti said the government had made four billion euros available for "environmental emergencies, instability and cleaning-up of industrial sites" of which 366 million euro are destined for the clean-up at the ILVA site. 'That the company should have immediately made its own commitment by allocating its own resources is a positive thing," he added. In an interview with La Gazzetta del Mezziogiorno published earlier in the day Monti said "This great southern Italian factory must continue production and it must do it in a way that is increasingly sustainable, technologically advanced and mindful of the environment".
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di Giovanni Pastore