Parliamentary question by Maurizio Turco (NI) to the Commission and answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

Parliamentary questions
by Maurizio Turco (NI) to the Commission
(10 July 2002)

Subject: Violations of the rule of law and democracy in Italy and Articles 6 and 7 of the TEU

Knowing that:

- according to Article 7(1) of the Treaty on European Union the Commission may propose that the Council "determine the existence of a serious and persistent breach by a Member State of principles mentioned in Article 6(1)", which states "The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States'";
- the text of the Italian Constitution explicitly lays down the number of members of:

(a) the Constitutional Court (Article 35, Title VI, Section I) and states that in the event of a vacancy arising, for whatever reason, it must be filled within one month (Article 5(2) of Constitutional Law No 2 of 22 November 1967),
(b) the Chamber of Deputies (Article 56, Title I, Section I), and both electoral law (Unified Text 361/1957, as amended by Law 277/1993), and the relevant implementing regulation (Presidential Decree No 14 of 5 January 1994) cover all eventualities to enable all seats to be allocated and specify the mechanisms for filling any seats which become vacant during the term of office.

can the Commission say:

- whether it has taken these facts into account in order to assess whether to take steps pursuant to Article 7 of the TEU and, if so, what conclusions it has reached;
- whether it already has or is considering acquiring any instruments to monitor respect for the principles referred to in Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union?

Answer given by Mr Prodi
on behalf of the Commission
(8 August 2002)

The Commission notes that a solution has been found to the problems referred to by the Honourable Member concerning the composition of two Italian institutions - the Constitutional Court and the Chamber of Deputies. As the Honourable Member states in his question, since 24 April 2002, the Constitutional Court consists of the number of judges required by the constitution; with regard to the Chamber of Deputies an agreement was reached on 16 July 2002.

The Commission sees no reason for examining the matter in the light of Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union.