Salvini sees Schifani: «We will create the work he has dreamed of for decades». First funds for the Bridge


By John

One thing is certain: now the Strait Bridge is included in the 2024 budget law of the Italian state. Is everything resolved? It is still difficult to say, given the complexity of the procedures, for which the national government has identified an elaborate economic-financial path, also trusting in the intervention of the EIB, the European Investment Bank which has contributed, over the decades, to the construction of the most important infrastructures built in the various EU countries.
The next day is that of reactions. Webuild stock is racing on the stock exchange and this was to be expected given that the Construction holding company, with CEO Pietro Salini, holds 45 percent of the shares of the Eurolink Consortium, called upon to complete the executive planning and create the stable connection between the Island and the Continent.

Minister Salvini, for his part, has removed a few pebbles from his shoe: «After weeks of empty chatter and reasoning by various analysts, I can say that there is coverage for the stable connection between Sicily and Italy and Europe». Full coverage? The Government assures: there are 12 billion, thanks also to the participation of the two Regions involved. AND the Sicilian Region will be the first to open its wallet, allocating one billion euros from the development and cohesion funds. «We will have discussions with the EIB, but now we really start», reiterated the deputy prime minister, also confirming that the timetable «is following all the planned stages, therefore the objective of opening the construction sites on both sides by summer 2024 is a commitment that we are absolutely capable of maintaining at this moment.”

A maneuver, the overall one of the Government, of 24 billion and the Bridge which “absorbs” 12 of it, that is half. Is it plausible? And here we enter the “alchemical” laboratory of Giancarlo Giorgetti (Minister of Economy)&Company. «Like all public works – explained Giorgetti –, the Bridge is financed for the entire amount, which is 12 billion in the multi-year projection. The first three installments to rise are allocated over the first three years. The temporal location is affected by the timing, which we realistically expect to unfold: they are mainly concentrated in 2025 and 2026″.

The Sicilian Region, as mentioned, will share in the expenditure with a share of 10 percent, deriving from the new FSC programming 2021-2027. The solution identified allows, according to the Salvini-Giorgetti tandem, to guarantee financial coverage, in order to start within the expected times with the conclusion of the design process and with the shipyards, convinced of being able to integrate it in a relatively short time with the resources which will arrive from Europe. A certainty, the one expressed several times by the deputy prime minister, following the meetings held with the European Commission and with the EU “minister” of Transport, the Romanian Adina Ioana Valean, which arises from intercontinental relevance of the stable connection.

Why? It has been explained several times. Because the Bridge is part of one of the main European corridors of the Ten-T transport networks, the one that connects Helsinki and Northern Europe with Palermo, Malta and the Mediterranean, passing through Germany and Austria and touching various points of our country. Because Europe has given itself an urgent deadline: by 2030 all the so-called “bottlenecks”, i.e. “bottlenecks”, must be removed which prevent the completion of road and rail connections. And the Strait of Messina is one of those “bottlenecks”. The EU contributed, by investing half of the money needed, to the construction of the recently inaugurated bridge in Romania. He contributed to bridges and tunnels built in other European countries. Hence the awareness that economic support from Brussels will not be lacking.

Let’s return to the role of the Sicilian Region. Yesterday President Schifani clarified this further, specifying that there is an actual willingness to invest over a billion euros to co-finance the construction of the Bridge over the Strait of Messina. An availability that had the imprimatur of the Sicilian Council at the end of the meeting on Monday morning. «The investment will allow Sicily to participate, with a 10 percent share, in the construction of the infrastructure that will connect the island to Calabria. The overall cost of the work is estimated at approximately 12 billion euros. In detail, the Region will contribute with one billion euros from resources from the new programming of the 2021-2027 Development and Cohesion Fund, and with a further 200 million resulting from savings relating to national resources for the 2014-2020 cycle that have not yet been spent. With this measure of appreciation from the Council – adds Schifani – we have laid the foundations for giving a decisive acceleration to the construction of what will be a strategic infrastructure for the future of Sicily. If after more than 50 years the Bridge over the Strait is starting to become a reality we must thank, in particular, the Minister of Infrastructure Matteo Salvini, always attentive to the needs of Southern Italy and Sicily in particular. With this co-financing we are sending a clear signal to all of Italy, to say that the Bridge is a national priority and that our Region is ready to do its part.”

This was echoed by the regional councilor for Infrastructure Alessandro Aricò: «Sicily will be ready for this appointment with history, we will prepare the best structural conditions that will allow us to make the most of the potential offered by the construction of the Bridge over the Strait. It will be necessary to organize a railway and road network in step with the times, creating an interconnection between airports, ports and freight villages and paying particular attention to internal roads. We are ready and many of the planned works have already started.”