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Italian Minister Accused of Compelling High-Speed Train to Make Unplanned Halt

ITALY: Francesco Lollobrigida, Italy’s agriculture minister and brother-in-law of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, is facing severe criticism after reportedly compelling a high-speed train to make an unscheduled stop near Rome to accommodate his travel plans. The incident has sparked outrage, with accusations of misusing power and inconveniencing other passengers aboard the train. The controversy arose when Lollobrigida was purportedly en route to Caivano, on the outskirts of Naples, to inaugurate an urban park. The high-speed train encountered delays, already running nearly two hours behind schedule when the minister boarded in Rome. Further disruptions ensued due to a fault on the high-speed line during its journey southwards.

Reportedly worried about missing the inauguration, Lollobrigida requested an “extraordinary stop” in Ciampino, near Rome, from the train operator, Trenitalia. Upon disembarking, the minister and his entourage were swiftly transferred to their destination in a government vehicle. While Lollobrigida defended his actions, stating that the train stopped at Ciampino and the extraordinary stop was made available for everyone onboard, opposition parties sharply criticized the incident. Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi labeled it an “unprecedented abuse of power” and called for Lollobrigida’s resignation if the reports are verified.

Critics condemned the minister’s alleged act as an abuse of office and unjustifiable arrogance. Andrea Casu of the Democratic party criticized the move, highlighting the frustration of other passengers dealing with delays caused by lack of funding in the transportation sector. The minister’s Brothers of Italy party defended Lollobrigida, labeling the criticism as “disgraceful” and emphasizing his efforts to reach an important commitment without causing harm to other passengers. They highlighted the government’s initiative to address issues in Caivano, where the inauguration was scheduled. The incident has sparked calls for inquiries in parliament to shed light on the matter, raising concerns about the misuse of authority and disregard for the inconvenience caused to fellow commuters amid the already disrupted train service.

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