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Italy sticks to the traffic protocol

Italy sticks to the traffic protocol: it will now be more difficult to build major roads. © Karl-Heinz Liebisch / pixelio

Much was at stake, but finally the concerns regarding the validity of the traffic protocol have been dismissed. How a declaration on a declaration saved the principle at the heart of the Alpine Convention, but cannot exorcise the ghost of the Alemagna autobahn.
Sighs of relief in Berlin and Vienna: Rome has recently sent a diplomatic letter to Austria stating that it fully shares the spirit of the Alpine Convention. Nor does the declaration ratifying the traffic protocol, made by Italy in November 2012, contradict the traffic protocol. The official declaration states: "Germany welcomes the unreserved entry into force of the protocol". Germany and Austria had previously held numerous diplomatic discussions with Italy. Environmental organisations and individual political parties too had requested that the government in Rome drop its opposition to the traffic protocol, as the validity of one of the central principles of the Alpine Convention was at stake, namely the ban on building new roads across the Alps. Without the German and Austrian efforts and the subsequent Italian declaration clarifying its earlier declaration, the protocol, which lies at the very heart of the agreement, would have been null and void both in Italy and in the other Alpine countries.
The diplomatic letter does not now mean that the Alemagna autobahn project is dead and buried, however, as Italy reserves the right under certain conditions to build major roads on its own national territory. Federica Corrado, President of CIPRA Italy, says: "It is now up to the international partners and observers as well as local environmental organisations to demand our adherence to the protocol and to prevent the weakening of the Alpine Convention by the transport and construction lobby".
Sources and further information: www.bmeia.gv.at/fileadmin/user_upload/bmeia (de)