Italian Senate approves ILVA decree

Government package becomes law

Italian Senate approves ILVA decree

(ANSA) – Rome, December 20 – The Italian Senate approved a decree on Thursday to keep the troubled ILVA steel plant in Taranto operating and employees working while a clean-up operation takes place. The decree was passed by the government cabinet on November 30 after the company had warned it risked "imminent" closure due to a criminal probe into an environmental scandal that saw several of its top managers arrested. The decree needed to be approved by both houses of parliament within 60 days in order to continue in existence. The Senate approved it with 217 votes in favour, 10 contrary and 18 abstentions, the last leg of its conversion into law. The Taranto plant's furnaces were placed under special administration in July following accusations emissions from them caused abnormally high levels of tumours and respiratory diseases in the Taranto area earlier this year, putting the employment of its 20,000 workers at risk. The decree aims to end a tussle between central government and local magistrates over whether the plant should be shut down while the site is cleared up. If the plant closes, it could in turn would trigger the closing of a larger one in Genoa, which cumulatively could cause an 8 billion euro loss to the Italian economy, according to figures released by the government last month. The plant at the Puglia port is the second biggest steelworks in Europe.

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