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Sicily Trade Unions Announce Mobilization in Favor of the New Silk Road

June 20, 2017 (EIRNS)—The leaders of the three major Italian trade unions, CGIL, CISL, and UIL, in Syracuse, Sicily, have announced a mobilization and called on Sicilian representatives in the Parliament to act in order to include Sicily and Southern Italy in plans for the New Silk Road. In a joint statement published by local media, Roberto Alosi (CGIL), Paolo Sanzaro (CISL), and Stefano Munafò (UIL) wrote that Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni "committed the umpteenth outrage against Sicily, if not against the entire Mezzogiorno. During his visit to China, Gentiloni suggested to his Chinese interlocutors a ‘Silk Road’ connection between China, Northern Europe, and Trieste, totally bypassing Sicily."

The port of Augusta, a deep sea port in Sicily,

"had been seen by various world economic and productive forces as [an] ideal route for trade coming from the Suez canal, due to its geographic centrality,"

wrote the trade union leaders, referring to 2010-2011, when "a powerful Chinese group" was interested in developing the Augusta port, including the railway connection across the Strait of Messina between Sicily and the southern Italian mainland. However, the group gave up "after having repeatedly run into a block, not to mention continual obstacles, by the bureaucracy and the institutions of our land."

But the match is not yet lost: "Given that at the moment the indication of Genoa, Venice and Trieste" as terminals for the Maritime Silk Road "is just a suggestion, our representatives in the national Parliament still have time to act and make sure that Sicily, and Augusta in particular, are recognized [for] a central role in international trade and in particular in the exchanges between Northern Europe, Atlantic and East."

The three union leaders also call on mayors to become active and announce a mobilization, "using every form of civil protest in order to block this latest theft. Our land deserves to have, at last, the right recognition."