Agence Europe

Brussels, 26/04/2002 (Agence Europe) - On the initiative of Italian Radical Murizio Turco, 64 MEPs - 27 Greens, 17 Liberals, 10 members of the United Left/Nordic Green Left, 7 Radicals (non-aligned), and one member of the EPP-ED and one from the Europe of Nations - have signed a resolution in which they trigger, for the first time, against Italy the proceedings provided for in the Treaty regarding a State responsible for serious and persistent violations of the principles of freedom and democracy, and human rights and fundamental liberties enshrined in the Treaty. The Radical initiative, a press release underpins, sets out from the observation that "since 21 November 2000 (thus for 17 months, over 500 days) the Constitutional Court of the Italian Republic has deliberated in the absence of the plenary session, as provided for by the Constitution, and since 30 May 2001 (thus some 11 months), the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Republic has legislated in the absence of the plenary session, as provided for by the Constitution".
In this affair, the MEPs invoke: - Article 6 and 7 of the Amsterdam Treaty by which the Union "is based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the respect of human rights and fundamental liberties, as well as the Rule of Law", and the Council, "meeting at heads of state and or governments level and ruling through unanimity on a proposal of a third of Member States or the Commission and following assent by the European Parliament, may note the existence of a serious and persistent violation by a Member State" of the principles set out in Article 6; - Article 108 of the EP's Rules of Procedure that states that Parliament may, at the request of a tenth of deputies of which it is composed, discuss and vote on a draft resolution asking the Commission to initiate an action under Article 7 of the Treaty. At the end of the procedure, Murizio Turco recalls in a press release, the Council may, at heads of state and/or government level, note (unanimously, without counting the Member State concerned or abstentions) the existence of such a violation and then, through a qualified majority, decide to suspend certain rights stemming from the Treaty, like the right to vote in Council.