M5S Senators demand Italy withdraw from TAV high-speed rail

Turin-Lyon line under fire for 'environmental threat, high cost'

M5S Senators demand Italy withdraw from TAV high-speed rail

Turin, May 15 - Senators from Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) demanded Wednesday that Italy pull out of a controversial rail link project with France. M5S Senators presented a bill, signed by their entire caucus, demanding a repeal of the September 2002 treaty that Italy signed with France for the Turin-Lyon high-speed-rail project. M5S, led by comedian-turned-politician Grillo, won around a quarter of the vote in Italy's general elections in February and therefore carries significant influence. Some critics of the rail link, which Italy and France say they will begin building next year, have staged violent protests denouncing its high cost and claiming it will cause environmental damage. The infrastructure and interior ministers held an emergency meeting in Turin Tuesday after activists destroyed parts of a TAV construction site and hurled Molotov cocktails in clashes with police. Proponents are promising 1,000 new jobs, lasting about 10 years in total, will be created by the project. Late last year, Italy's Senate budget committee approved a 10-year allocation of 2.25 billion euros for the rail project. Both countries say that it is a piece of "strategic" and "priority" infrastructure for the entire European Union. Italy has also said the project is an important driver of economic growth.

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