Correspondent in Rome
Italy suffers a very hard economic blow that damages its international image. After the interview held today with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the steel multinational, ArcelorMittal, ratifies the announcement of its departure from the country. The Mittal consortium had been awarded, in 2017, for 1.8 billion euros the Italian steel group ILVA, one day considered the most efficient steel plant in Europe, located in Taranto, a city in southern Italy, in the coastal area of Apulia The multinational committed to make investments for more than 2.3 billion euros in the steelworks of Taranto, the industrial lung of southern Italy.
Now ArcelorMittal leaves with the justification that the Italian government has breached its promise to give it immunity against the possibility of legal prosecution for its highly polluting plant.
It should be noted that on the Ilva de Taranto there was always a political confrontation, with doctors and environmental associations denouncing a critical situation for health and the environment, with numerous cases of tumors among workers and inhabitants of the area, causing hundreds of deaths from cancer, according to experts. For this reason, ArcelorMittal demanded a legal shield and the government promised to give it immunity against expensive processes related to the cleaning that should be done in the plant and in the Taranto area. However, the 5 Star Movement has objected to giving ArcelotMittal a carte blanche because it is considered unfair to the citizens of Taranto. The reaction of the multinational was clear, according to a letter from the CEO of Arcelor, Lucia Morselli, addressed to the workers: "It is not possible to manage the plant without this protection, and we cannot expose employees and contractors to possible criminal charges" .
Bomb for the Italian economy
For the Italian economy the news has the effects of a bomb, because there is a risk of sending the I stop thousands of jobs: 50,000 are the jobs provided by the Italian steel mill, of which 20,000 are direct jobs.
A report by the Association for the Development of the Industry of Southern Italy estimates that the closure of the Italian steel group Ilva would have an impact of -0.2% on the GDP of Italy and -0.7% in the South, which It represents billions of euros for the national economy.
Useless has been the attempt made today by Prime Minister Conte, who offered ArcelorMittal a kind of criminal shield, which has been rejected by the multinational, ensuring that it would be impossible to fulfill the contract. The former Minister of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda, who managed the purchase of Ilva by ArcelorMittal has been very hard on the government, particularly against the 5 Star Movement and its leader Luigi Di Maio: «Politicians who have never worked outside the Parliament (in reference to Di Maio), they make the biggest factory in the south close», He wrote on Twitter.
The comment of former Prime Minister Romano Prodi, former president of the European Commission, who writes in Il Mesaggero: “The Ilva case puts us back at the angle between all European countries. None trusts us.
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