A portion of the Morandi motorway bridge in Genoa (Northern Italy) suddenly collapsed on 14 August while several vehicles were using it. At least 39 people died and 15 more are severely injured according to a provisional official assessment. The cause of the unexpected tragedy is not yet clear.
The victims’ state funeral took place on 18 August at the presence of Italian president Sergio Mattarella. Some relatives refused to take part following the dispute over the disaster’s responsibility. Deputy Prime minister Luigi Di Maio’s populist 5 Stars movement is long-time opposed to massive spending on infrastructures – included one that would have partially replaced the burden on the Morandi bridge. The government is accusing Autostrade per l’Italia, the company operating the bridge, of failing to fill its maintenance duty and is willing to strip it from its contracts, while the interior minister Matteo Salvini (League,far-right) blamed the EU’s budgetary constraints for preventing Italian authorities from being able to invest in infrastructures. The Commission replied saying that Italy had benefited from billions of euros of investment for infrastructure projects, including roads.