Category Archives: European Union

The Legality of Italy’s Export of Arms

On 17 July 2017, during a Parliamentary debate on the ongoing war in Yemen, the Sottosegretario di Stato per gli Affari esteri e la Cooperazione internazionale (Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation), Mr. Vincenzo Amendola, presented the stance of the Italian Government vis-à-vis the conflict between the Houthi rebels and the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The request for military support from President Hadi’s government, which enjoys wide international recognition, has been accepted by a coalition of States, led by Saudi Arabia. Before the Camera dei Deputati (Chamber of Deputies, 835th Meeting, XVII Legislature) Mr. Amendola qualified the government as the legitimate authority in Yemen. He described the situation as follows: 

In 2014, there was a true subversion of the institutional order from the Houthis, carried out by paramilitary militias. The coup interrupted the process of transition that was in place and resulted in the destitution of President Hadi and the fall of the Yemeni Parliament. Given the situation and the worsening of the terrorist threat brought about by Al Qaeda in great part of the Yemeni territory, which took advantage of the power vacuum in the country, a military intervention upon request and sustained by the legitimate government was launched by a coalition of States formed by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Sudan, Egypt and Morocco. 

Allegations of a violation of international humanitarian law as a result of the bombings carried out by Saudi Arabia led to questioning the export of arms to Riyadh. On this issue, too, the Undersecretary explained the Italian position. The obligations applicable to Italy as to the export of arms derive from domestic, European and international legal instruments. However, Mr. Amendola only mentioned the domestic framework and reminded that: 

The exports of arms are governed by Law no. 185 of 1990 and its subsequent amendments, and the authorizations for licenses involve different Ministries and authorities, as to the analysis of the content of the single operation as well as in terms of opinions for the export to non-EU/NATO countries. 

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A Statement by the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr Matteo Renzi, on the European Council of October 2014

SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, XVII LEGISLATURE, 336th MEETING, 22 OCTOBER 2014.

On 22 October 2014, the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Matteo Renzi, outlined before the Senate the position of Italy on the topics to be discussed at the European Council of 23-24 October 2014, i.e. the new climate and energy policy framework, the economic situation in the EU and other external relation issues in the light of the developments on the international scene.

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, on the European Sanctions against the Russian Federation

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE,  310th MEETING, 15 OCTOBER 2014.

On 15 October 2014, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Federica Mogherini, explained to the Chamber of Deputies the reasons behind the adoption of the sanctions against the Russian Federation. The Minister emphasised the need to introduce restrictive measures, but also left the door open to their renegotiation in the case that Moscow adopted a more constructive approach. She said that:

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A Speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, on the discussion within the Gymnich and the priorities of the Italian Presidency

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, VIII LEGISLATURE, COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 2 SEPTEMBER 2014.

On 2 September 2014, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Federica Mogherini, delivered a speech before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament concerning the conclusions of the last Gymnich and the priorities of the Italian Presidency of the EU. She focused the attention on some of the key topics, such as the threat coming from ISIS, the conflicts in the areas of Syria, Iraq and Gaza and the need to tackle those problems by means of a regional approach. As to the issue concerning Ukraine and Russia, after recalling the Council conclusions that envisage a new package of sanctions, she said:

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A Speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, on the Recent Developments of the Situation in the Gaza Strip

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 274th MEETING, 29 JULY 2014.

On 29 July 2014, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, delivered a speech before the plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament on the conflict between Hamas and Israel. After expressing sorrow, on behalf of the Italian Government and people, for the casualties suffered on both sides, she highlighted the complexity of the conflict. Thus, to avoid any oversimplification, she briefly illustrated the political context of the whole region, showing how much the situations of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and Jordan are interrelated. Then, referring to the end of the “Skyes-Picot order”, she called all the Middle-Eastern actors to assume direct and shared responsibility in the regional politics, together with Italy and Europe. Pointing out that the conflict cannot be examined through biased eyes, and that the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians – respectively, to live in peace and security and to have a sovereign State – are legitimate, she added:

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A Statement at the Human Rights Council on Behalf of the EU on the Situation in the Gaza Strip

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, 21st SPECIAL SESSION, HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY, INCLUDING EAST JERUSALEM, 23 JULY 2014.

On 23 July 2014, the Permanent Representative of Italy at the Human Rights Council, Amb. Maurizio Enrico Serra, expressed the position of the EU with respect to the Human Rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The statement took place in the context of a debate on Israel’s military operation ‘Protective Edge’, which has started on 7 July 2014 in the Gaza Strip, and on the escalation of rocket fire against Israel. At the outset, Amb. Serra specified that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania and Liechtenstein aligned themselves with his statement. 

He then stated: 

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A Speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, on the Italian Presidency of the EU

III COMMISSION OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES AND THIRD COMMISSION OF THE SENATE, XVII LEGISLATURE, 11th MEETING, 3 JULY 2014.

On 3 July 2014, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, delivered a speech before the III Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and the 3rd Commission of the Senate on the recent foreign policy developments in relation to the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).

The Minister highlighted the importance of a new chapter in the European foreign policy, which Italy will try to initiate during its Presidency and is expected to further continue under the Presidency of Luxembourg and then of Latvia. Priority has to be accorded to foreign policy measures that enhance relations with Eastern and Southern countries. Furthermore, other global topics and scenarios will be the subject of specific strategies. The Italian Presidency will focus on Asia, Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East and Northern Africa, including Libya, and continue monitoring crises areas.

As to Ukraine, the Minister said:

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Matteo Renzi’s Speech before the European Parliament as Italy takes over the Presidency of the EU

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, VIII LEGISLATURE, FIRST PLENARY SESSION, 2 JULY 2014.

On 2 July 2014, the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Matteo Renzi, gave a speech before the European Parliament as Italy took over its six-month Presidency of the European Union.

In his speech, Mr. Renzi put particular emphasis on the need to boost economic growth. He said:

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A Statement by the President of the Council of Ministers on the Upcoming Italian Presidency of the EU Council

CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 251st MEETING, 24 JUNE 2014.

On 24 June 2014, the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Matteo Renzi, delivered a speech before the Chamber of Deputies on the upcoming Italian Presidency of the EU Council. In his speech, Mr. Renzi focused on some aspects of the role of Italy in the framework of the new European semester and gave a hint of the position of Italy on certain topics such as the appointment of the President of the Commission, the management of migratory flows and the situation of the European economy.

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A Statement by the Permanent Representative of Italy at the Human Rights Council on Italy’s Commitments in the Field of Human Rights

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, 26th SESSION, HIGH COMMISSIONER ANNUAL REPORT, 10 JUNE 2014.

On 10 June 2014, the Permanent Representative of Italy at the Human Rights Council, Amb. Maurizio Enrico Serra, delivered a speech on the priorities of Italy in the area of human rights protection, both within the Human Rights Council and the European Union, in view of the upcoming Italian Presidency of the EU Council. The Ambassador said that Italy is determined to fight against death penalty, female genital mutilations, forced child marriage and against serious violations of human rights taking place in countries such as Syria and South Sudan. He said:

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