Rome– Italy’s Premier Giuseppe Conte said he and France’s President Emmanuel Macron will on Friday discuss a planned 8.6 billion euro high-speed train link between Turin and Lyon.

“Tomorrow I have a bilateral meeting with Macron – that is news,” Conte told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Brussels.

Conte earlier this month helped draft a legal document to allow tenders for the delayed project to be launched by a March 11 deadline to avoid the loss of 300 million euros of European Commission funding.

The legal letter sent to TELT, the Franco-Italian company in charge of the Tav, was described as a piece of “legal acrobacy” as it gives Italy and France another six months to reassess the project while keeping its European Union funding on track until any final decision is taken.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who leads the far-right League party, is a strong supporter of the Tav, while Luigi Di Maio, head of the grassroots 5-Star Movement – the League’s coalition partner – opposes it.

The project has been stalled for months due to 5-Star’s opposition to it.

France and the EU – which is paying for 40 percent of the tunnel – could seek damages from Italy if the project is binned. (IANS)

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