Constitutional Court shoots down ILVA prosecutors' petition

Court denies petitions against government

Constitutional Court shoots down ILVA prosecutors' petition

Rome, February 13 - Petitions challenging the government's 'Save ILVA' law brought by Taranto prosecutors were rejected Wednesday by Italy's Constitutional Court. The court ruled as inadmissible two petitions claiming the Italian government had overstepped its jurisdictional boundaries in attempting to support the troubled ILVA steelworks. The ruling was based on the likelihood the law will ultimately be appealed, explained the Constitutional Court, adding that the matter will continue to be heard in April. Prosecutors had claimed the government went too far with its law passed late last year which allows ILVA to remain in production while much-needed environmental upgrades are carried out. The court rejected prosecutors' claim that the law, as well as the government decree that preceded it, each involved a conflict between the powers of government and the judiciary. Prosecutors have been attempting since last summer to close the polluting steel plant, deemed a health hazard, while labour unions and the government have been fighting to save it and its 20,000 related jobs. In another move against the company, late last month, the local courts ordered the seizure of steel and semi-finished products from the plant pending the Constitutional Court ruling. The products, weighing in the region of 1.8 million tonnes and worth a billion euros, were left lying on the company docks. In response, ILVA's president warned that if the plant, in the southern port city of Taranto, was not fully reopened, as many as 8,000 workers could be placed on indefinite leave.

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