Internal problems in Five Star Movement endanger Stadio della Roma project

Ansa – The date to mark on the calendar for the Stadio della Roma is 3rd March, just over a month away. Virginia Raggi’s administration has to have made up its mind by that day, otherwise the whole procedure comes to a halt: either go ahead with the project, amend it and then go ahead, or don’t go ahead at all and risk the decision being appealed. This morning the Conferenza di Servizi accepted the request for a 30 day extension filed yesterday, but it’s a legitimate request even if it sounds like another ultimatum. This time though, it really is the last opportunity, because the law forbids any further extensions.

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By 3rd March, the municipality must produce the urban planning procedure and approve the draft agreement, and if the documents are ready earlier than that – as was outlined in the city offices in via del Giorgione this morning – then so much the better. “It would be a serious matter not to provide certainty about the procedures,” stated Michele Civita, the councillor for territory. They have a month, therefore, to loosen a knot around the Five Star Movement that currently appears to be tighter than ever. On the one hand there are those who want to have a dialogue – including mayor Raggi – and discuss the total square footage of the project, the reduction of which would make the Tor di Valle project, including its well-publicised skyscrapers, much more palatable to M5S voters. On the other hand, there are the hard-line purists, led by the councillor for city planning, Paolo Berdini (“the stadium, and that’s it”) whose departmental office yesterday sent a letter to the Tiber River┬áBasin Authority in which they stressed the risk of flooding in the chosen area, which is so serious that “the Conferenza di Servizi cannot end with a favourable outcome”.

That letter was hardly talked about in via del Giorgione today (it seems as though the Tiber River Basin Authority think the opposite: the works themselves, in fact, would eliminate any threat of flooding), but it speaks volumes about the difficulty of those within M5S finding common ground. They are, in fact, being attacked from both sides. “It’s like our own version of House of Cards,” according to Andrea Romano of the Democratic Party. “They’ve already contrived to lose the Olympics, and now they’re on track to ruin the stadium project as well.” For the Democrat senator Carlo Lucherini, “it would be worrying if it’s refused because of the paralysis caused by internal bickering within the [Five Star] Movement.” For Adriano Palozzi, vice-president of the regional committee for urban planning, the 30 day extension is “yet more evidence of Grillo’s lot and the mayor, who is being held prisoner by this internal strife, simply wasting time.”

The urban planning procedure, which the Conferenza di Servizi and the Region have requested on numerous occasions, must be handed over to the Capitoline assembly within a month, and the Aula will then be able to adhere to their own timeframe. However, there is still a possibility that no documentation will have been completed by 3rd March. At that point, the Conferenza di Servizi will have to take action and vote that the project cannot go ahead. The project’s proponents, i.e. AS Roma and the developer Luca Parnasi, would then have two options available to them. The first would be to appeal to the regional administrative court for non-compliance of public authorities, requesting that the government exercise substitutive powers. The second would be to proceed through the civil courts and seek compensation for damages.

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