Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte was in Venice on Friday overlooking the inaugural complete test of all 78 gates that make up the MOSE (Experimental Electromechanical Module) dam project.
The MOSE project is aimed at protecting Venice and its surrounding lagoon from the constant risk of flooding the city experiences. The project is an integrated system of 78 mobile dams that are designed to protect Venice and the lagoon from tides of up to three metres (9.8 ft) high.
The project has received much criticism due to delays, costs, corruption allegations and deadlines being missed. The criticism led to an uneasy reception from journalists questioning Conte at the dam.
Conte received strong questioning regarding the legality of the project, the seriousness of the testing and also the financing of the project, and future costly maintenance.
«I would like to say, regarding the maintenance, the calculations have been made more or less already by the newspapers, and you journalists were ahead of us. Now, one million more, one million less, it's going to cost money, it will cost money. The maintenance is expensive and challenging from a financial point of view,» admitted Prime Minister Conte.