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Today in Italy For Members

Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Elaine Allaby
Elaine Allaby - [email protected]
Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Italy's taxi drivers have announced a nationwide strike on Tuesday, May 21 to protest a proposed reform. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

Taxi drivers stage nationwide strike, last chance to save Ita-Lufthansa deal, opening of Italy's migrant centres in Albania delayed, and more news from around Italy on Tuesday.

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Italy's top story on Tuesday:

Italy's taxi drivers were set to stage a nationwide strike on Tuesday, after talks stalled over a reform aimed at reducing longstanding cab shortages.

Taxi drivers' unions announced the 8am-10pm strike earlier this month after talks with Business Minister Adolfo Urso over a contested reform of the cab sector reached a dead end. A demonstration was also planned in Rome's Piazza San Silvestro from 11am to 5pm.

Unions said Urso had failed to give them the necessary assurances over a series of changes proposed in early April, including the issuance of new taxi licences and the creation of ride-hailing digital platforms.

The reforms are designed to fix Italy's severe taxi shortages ahead of the 2025 Jubilee Year, when tens of millions of additional visitors are expected to descend on Rome alone. Italian taxi drivers have long opposed attempts to both increase the number of available licences and open up the market to ride-hailing services.

Last chance to save Ita-Lufthansa deal

Italy's Ita Airways and Germany's Lufthansa have until the end of Tuesday to present the EU with a merger proposal that satisfies Brussels' competition authorities, Corriere della Sera newspaper reported on Saturday.

The European Commission in January raised objections to Lufthansa's plans to buy a 41-percent minority stake in ITA, raising concerns that the deal would harm competition on “several short- and long-haul routes", particularly to and from Milan's Linate airport.

The airlines previously proposed giving away between 11 and 12 percent of their slots at Linate to another carrier - but according to unnamed EU sources close to the deal, the bloc's antitrust watchdog wants 30 percent of the slots released, in addition to other commitments, Corriere reported.

The Commission has until July 4th to issue its final decision.

Opening of Italy's migrant centres in Albania delayed

The opening of two Italian-run migrant centres in Albania that had been scheduled for Monday has been delayed due to unfinished construction work, an Albanian port official told AFP news agency.

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Under a controversial deal struck with Italy, Albania is set to receive migrants rescued at sea off the Italian coast at a centre at Shengjin, and then process them at another centre inland.

Italian news agency Ansa reported earlier this month that the opening would be pushed back despite the government in Rome previously announcing that the centres would be operational "no later than May 20, 2024", though Italian and Albanian authorities had remained tight-lipped about the rumoured delays.

Sander Marashi, director of the Shengjin port, told AFP there will be no migrants on Monday because "construction work is ongoing".

More bad weather in northern Italy

After heavy flooding in northern Italy last week that left one dead, more heavy rain and storms were forecast between Monday night and Tuesday, weather site ilmeteo.it reported.

The collision of a large low pressure area with warm and humid currents from the south was expected to bring heavy showers, strong winds and hail storms to much of the north and some central areas of the country.

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In the Lombardy provinces of Varese, Como, Lecco, Brianza and Milan, as much as 150 l/mq - the amount normally received in a month - was expected to fall in the space of a few hours.

Temperatures in the south, by contrast, were expected to remain warm and stable.

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