ILVA demands return of seized steel products after ruling

Constitutional court upholds government efforts to save plant

ILVA demands return of seized steel products after ruling

Taranto, April 10 - Crisis-riddled ILVA demanded the immediate return of seized steel products from prosecutors Wednesday, one day after a top court rejected efforts to shut down the company's plant. Lawyers for ILVA, which prosecutors have been trying to close, demanded an order returning products seized last November by authorities as part of the struggle over the future of the plant. For his part, company president Bruno Ferrante said the ruling has given the plant new life. "(I see) with great satisfaction the decision of the Constitutional Court, which allows us to look to the future with confidence and hope," he said Wednesday. Prosecutors from Taranto have been been fighting to close the polluting plant due to decades of environmental damage and major health problems caused by pollution from the steel plant. At the same time, labour unions and the national government have been fighting just as hard to save the plant and the 20,000 jobs it provides in a region of very high unemployment. In their latest move, prosecutors had asked Italy's highest court to strike down the government's "Save ILVA" decree approved late last year to keep open the troubled steel plant, Europe's largest, with many other facilities dependent on its operations. But late Tuesday, the Constitutional Court rejected the prosecutors' claims that the government's efforts were unconstitutional, which means that production at the factory can continue. Ferrante said that even with the court victory, ILVA remained committed to meeting all environmental fixes ordered by Italian authorities as well as European authorities in the Hague. "We have the duty and the will to implement all the provisions...to safeguard jobs and business but also the environment and public health".

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