Photo: Richard Allaway/Flickr
In just one day, 24,000 people signed the petition. McDonald’s filed a lawsuit against Florence. After the city refused to let it set up a shop at Piazza del Duomo. They’re accusing mayor Nardella of back-tracking on his original decision. They claim they lost money because they made changes to their plan to fit local regulations.
The Europeans won’t have it
A French citizen, Yann Web set up the petition. He calls on the EU to help Florence battle the lawsuit and protect the cultural heritage of the city.
“We, European citizens, support the courageous city of Florence and its Mayor, Dario Nardella, in this fight. Let’s protect the heritage of the historic centre of that magnificent city, Florence.”
He says it’s unfair for large multinational companies to take legal actions against regions which are trying to protect their “culinary identity, values and heritage”. The petition also labels the lawsuit “an obstacle to freedom of business”.
Mayor Dario Nardella turned down McDonald’s application in June.”McDonald’s has the right to submit an application, because we permit this under the law, but we also have the right to say no,” Nardella told the city council, saying he wanted to support “traditional business” in the area.
There are three other McDonald’s restaurants in the city, just a short walk from the square. Opening in Piazza del Duomo itself, which is a Unesco World Heritage site, wasn’t something that would be gladly accepted.
McDonald’s has a problematic history in Italy, like other fast food chains have. The first shop, they opened 30 years ago sparked protests and the now global Slow Food movement.
In March, the city passed a law aimed at ensuring that at least 70 percent of produce in all new eateries was locally sourced. They fear the growing number of cheap kebab shops and other fast food outlets aimed at tourists meant the city was at risk of losing its character.
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