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Italy's PM says divided government not set to fall over Franco-Italian tunnel

Italy's PM says divided government not set to fall over Franco-Italian tunnel
FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks during his end-of-year news conference in Rome, Italy, December 28, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo -
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ROME (Reuters) - Italy's government remains deeply divided over whether to forge ahead with a high-speed rail link with France, but the coalition is not about to collapse over the issue, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday.

Conte told reporters he had strong personal doubts about the validity of the project, adding that the funding split, which calls for the EU to pay up to 40 percent of costs, Italy 35 percent and France 25 percent, was "unfair".

The Alpine rail line is backed by the ruling League party but is fiercely opposed by its coalition partner, the 5-Star Movement, which has denounced the project as a waste of money.

"I think it is necessary to proceed with a dialogue with our partners in this project, France and the European Union, to share our doubts and perplexities," Conte said.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte and Gavin Jones; Writing by Crispian Balmer)

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