Free Trieste



One of the press conference organized by Alpe Adria Green (AAG) in Ljubljana to present the actions in opposition to Gas Natural’s LNG terminal project . From the left: Franc Malečkar, Roberto Giurastante, Vojko Bernard (president of AAG). In 2009, Alpe Adria Green started denouncing before European authorities the unacceptable project presented by Gas Natural, addressing the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as the Government of Slovenia. This was the decisive action to stop the projects of two LNG terminals in the Gulf of Trieste, which Italy supported.

The recent decision of Spanish company Gas Natural to renounce to the construction of a LNG terminal in the Gulf of Trieste is another positive sign for the future of the International Free Port of Trieste. After 15 years, Gas Naturals throws in the towel, ultimately surrendering to the impossibility to carry out such a controversial project. Now everybody declares to have always been against the LNG terminal, but the truth is very different from that.

Gas Natural enjoyed all possible support to complete its project from Italian politics, because the terminal would have put an end to the Free Port of Trieste, turning its southern sector (the New Free Port) into a fuels port and, at the same time, allowing the  destruction of the Northern Free Port (the so-called “old port”) by letting it be turned into an urban area, allowing a massive housing speculation.

If the LNG terminal was not approved, it is all thanks to the firm and strong opposition of the citizens and the important role of Alpe Adria Green, environmentalist movement based in Slovenia, which did successfully involve public opinion, ultimately convincing the Slovenian Government to express an ultimative opposition to any LNG terminals (there were two projects at the beginning) in the Gulf of Trieste. The role of Slovenia proved decisive once again before the authorities of the European Union, where the dispute with Italy on the project caused one of the very first transboundary clashes between Member States.

As member of AAG, I played a direct role in this long action in defense of the environment and of the citizens. I have promoted some of the petitions, discussed before the European Parliament, regarding the breaches of European and International Law. Because the construction of the LNG terminal was expected to take place within the international Free Port of Trieste, which is not under Italian sovereignty and it is outside the European Union, being a State Corporation of the present-day Free Territory of Trieste.

And the great importance of AAG’s role in this hard stand for legality is also clear from the many complaints presented by Gas Natural. Three managers of AAG (Franc Malečkar, Roberto Giurastante, Paolo G. Parovel) were accused of offending the name of the Spanish multinational company for denouncing to public opinion the forges within the Environmental Impact Assessment approved by the Italian Ministry of the Environment. Forges that were never questioned by any local body (Region Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Municipalities).

The accusations against the three representatives of AAG melted like snow in the sun, the environmentalists who stood without fear despite the Mafia-like threats they received (as for me, I had found the head of a goat on the doorstep) denouncing to public opinion a scandalous case of the European corruption networks were cleared from all charges.

And it is from this battle in defence of the environment that starts the very legalitarian action thanks to which the question of the present-day Free Territory of Trieste is open once again, as I told in the very first post of this blog: LINK

Translated from blog “Ambiente e Legalità” – “Environment and Legality” by Roberto Giurastante