World News

Italy’s Senate passes new motorway rules in threat to Atlantia’s license

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Senate on Wednesday gave its final approval to a decree containing new rules that make it easier and less costly for the state to revoke motorway concessions.

The government has threatened to withdraw the license of infrastructure group Atlantia <ATL.MI> after a bridge in Genoa operated by its motorway unit Autostrade per l’Italia collapsed in August 2018, killing 43 people.

Atlantia has always denied wrongdoing in the disaster and says it will challenge any revocation in the courts, opening the way for a potentially long and costly legal battle.

The decree presented by the coalition government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the centre-left Democratic Party was approved in a confidence motion by 154 votes to 96.

The legislation had already been passed in the Chamber of Deputies and so now becomes law.

Governments in Italy often use confidence votes to hasten approval of bills by truncating debate and amendments. If a confidence vote is lost, the government is obliged to resign.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Crispian Balmer)