‘Brothers of Italy’ in push to kick EU out of the Italian constitution

Italy is set to reject once and for all the EU rules on fiscal policy. The post-fascist party Brothers of Italy (FDI) submitted to the House of representative a draft legislation the goal of which is to change the national Constitution in those parts referring to the European obligations. The ultimate purpose is to remove all national provisions about the duty of taking into account the EU legislation, removing all obstacles to a truly independence.

According to article 117 of the Italian constitution, “legislative powers shall be vested in the State and the Regions in compliance with the Constitution and with the constraints deriving from EU legislation and international obligations”. FDI and her leader, Giorgia Meloni, want to delete the second part of this article. By removing it, it will be possible for Italy to oppose the fundamental chart against any European obligation.

“We voluntarily and madly reduce our sovereignty”, Meloni stated in the explanatory text of the bill. “In the Constitutions of the other founding countries of the European Union there are no such general norms, so automatic and so subdued”. Furthermore, she stressed that “the budget sovereignty is completely national, is a form of constitutional exercise with the exclusive responsibility of the Chambers”, the two branches of the Italian Parliament.

Italian nationalists are basically calling for nationalism, and embraced sovereignism by eliminating every trace of Europeanism.

Main change proposals

By reading the document it appears difficult to understand what FDI is suggesting. In order to better understand, a copy of the Italian Constitution is needed. And the final result is the one shown here below:

So, as it is visible, Meloni wants to throw away the European Union from the Italian Constitution. Politically speaking the message is very simple: we don’t care about the EU, its rules, its reforms.

Here we have a never ending cultural problem. Italians don’t like reforms. Italy is a country traditionally conservative: it was first monarchist, then fascist, then Christian-Democrat, finally Berlusconist, without quitting being Catholic. None of these terms is synonym of progressivism. That explains why in Italy reforms are slow, and the external intervention of the EU is not welcomed. Meloni knows Italians very well.

Constitution reforms is not an easy task

What Meloni and her party submitted to the Parliament is not ordinary draft legislation. It is Constitutional draft legislation. It means that tougher rules apply in order to have a green light. It is required that constitutional laws shall be adopted by each House after two successive debates at intervals of not less than three months, and shall be approved by an absolute majority of the members of each House in the second voting.

This is the first step. If these requirements are fulfilled, these laws are submitted to a popular referendum in case of a request is made by one-fifth of the members of a House of the Parliament or by 500,000 voters or five Regional Councils. The request can be presented within three months after the publication of the Constitutional law on the official journal.

Furthermore, the law submitted to referendum shall not be promulgated if not approved by a majority of valid votes. A referendum shall not be held if the law has been approved in the second voting by each of the Houses by a majority of two-thirds of the members.

The government could help Meloni

Now, Meloni has not the majority into the Parliament. She seats with the opposition parties, and she cannot pretend to have any majority. Unless the two ruling parties decide to back the proposal, currently debated at Parliamentary committee level.

The reform of article 117 of the Constitution is in the joint program for institutional reforms agreed between the leaders of The League and the Five Stars Movement (M5S), both of the idea that Europe and its austerity must be banned. 

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