Is Italy neglecting its southern regions?

A head-on collision between two trains on a single-track line killed 23 people and has caused an outcry: plans for the expansion of the train line had been delayed and there was no automatic control system in place. Is the state to blame for the backwardness of Southern Italy? Italian commentators are split on this question.

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La Repubblica (IT) /

Rome left Southern Italy in the lurch

Best-selling author Roberto Saviano blames the state for the tragedy in La Repubblica:

“This tragedy tells the tale of the lacking investment, supervision and oversight of both the current and previous governments. You don't invest in transport services in the South because it doesn't generate any political advantages. After all, you can't expect to win more votes in a region with such a high rate of youth migration. … Instead they decided to invest in the North, which at least has a business infrastructure, even if much of it is run down. The South has to content itself with attention-grabbing press releases, with a few words about criminal organisations. An evil that needs to be eradicated, for sure, but about which we shouldn't talk too much if we don't want to create a climate of distrust. This is how the South is fobbed off with empty phrases.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Southern Italy must fight its backwardness

Laying all the blame on the government in Rome is too simple, Avvenire counters:

“The Southern Europeans and their politicians better not try to put all the blame on others. … The tragedy in Apulia must be a wake-up call for all of us. We must not confine ourselves to mourning our dead. When the special funding measures for the Mezzogiorno were abolished [in 1993] many people, including the Southern Italians, approved of this as a sign of true unity of the state. Many years later there is little cause to celebrate. The South has come to a standstill, crippled by its own responsibility and backwardness. This backwardness stretches from its schools to its universities, from its trains to its road network and from its water supplies to its broad band availability. It is our duty to raise our voices and react. ”