• France's news in English

Hollande and Monti clinch contested rail deal

AFP · 3 Dec 2012, 13:48

Published: 03 Dec 2012 13:48 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The deal relating to the financing of the high-speed trans-alpine link between Lyon in France and Turin in Italy was a further sign of the pair's commitment to the 26-billion-euro scheme that has generated furious opposition from environmental activists.

Police cordoned off several streets around the building in Lyon where the two leaders were meeting, as protesters gathered in the French city for a march due to begin around 1 am.

Hollande and Monti see the planned 57-kilometre tunnel under the Alps as emblematic of the pro-growth agenda they have jointly promoted within the European Union.

Supporters of the scheme claim it will take a million heavy trucks off the saturated roads between Italy and France, as trans-alpine freight switches to rail, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by three million tonnes per year.

But the plans for a new tunnel under western Europe's highest mountains have also come under fire.

Critics argue it could become a white elephant subsidized by unjustifiable injections of national and European funds at a time when every other area of public spending is being tightened.

While the first trains are currently scheduled to travel on the new line in 2028 at the earliest, French officials acknowledge that the target may slip as budget constraints bite.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available