Popular protests have been taking place in Venezuela at least since 2014: their targets are the Government’s crackdown on civil and political liberties and the grave economic crisis afflicting the country, which has inter alia resulted in skyrocketing inflation and a persistent lack of essential goods.
In December 2015, parliamentary elections were held and won by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), a coalition of parties opposing President Nicolás Maduro and his United Socialist Party (PSUV). In the following months, President Maduro declared the state of emergency and assumed more powers, while the MUD started to collect signatures for a referendum to remove him from office before the natural end of his term. In October 2016, however, the National Electoral Council suspended the referendum process; new demonstrations against this decision took place.
At the beginning of 2016, the Italian national Giulio Regeni was murdered in Cairo in unclear circumstances. This soon became a major issue in the foreign policy of Italy and a cause of tension in its relations with Egypt. The event is here illustrated through the accounts given by the members of the Italian Government themselves, on the occasion of official reports to the Parliament. At the same time, some important political and legal aspects are also briefly addressed.
During 2016, the Italian Government was often questioned before the Parliament about arms exports from Italy to countries where either a conflict was occurring or international norms were being violated. The statements by the different members of the Government highlighted a heterogeneous practice, contingent upon different variables, some of which related to the presence of international measures and others to political considerations of the Government itself.
Throughout 2016, the Italian Government was called upon on several occasions to express its position on the negotiation and approval of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU (CETA). In May 2016, the Government – in contrast with the wide majority of the other EU Member States – announced its willingness to consider CETA as a “EU only agreement”, falling within the sole competence of the EU as part of its commercial policy. On the contrary, in July 2016 the EU Commission decided to qualify CETA as a “mixed agreement”, subject to the approval of each of the national parliaments of the EU Member States. The Government’s view on the matter was expressed in particular on the following occasions:
JOINT COMMISSIONS III AND IV OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES AND 3rd AND 4th OF THE SENATE (FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND DEFENCE), XVII LEGISLATURE, 21st MEETING, 6 OCTOBER 2015.
On 6 October 2015, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, and the Minister of Defence, Ms Roberta Pinotti, delivered two statements before the Joint Commissions of Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Parliament. Mr Gentiloni started by illustrating the foreign policy of Italy with particular regard to the Mediterranean and Middle East areas. In this context, he recalled the role played by Italy in the fight against ISIL/Daesh. He stated:
SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, 4th PERMANENT COMMISSION (DEFENCE), XVII LEGISLATURE, 141st MEETING, 22 JULY 2015.
On 22 July 2015, the Undersecretary of State for Defence, Mr Gioacchino Alfano, answered a parliamentary question relating to the constitution and the deployment of an elite unit of the Armed Forces within the Task Force 45 (TF45) of the NATO-covered ISAF in Afghanistan. Being TF45 provided with biometric data capture equipment for their role of support to the Afghan security forces, Mr Gioacchino Alfano dwelled on the legal basis for the collection of such data. He stated:
SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, XVII LEGISLATURE, 432nd MEETING, 16 APRIL 2015.
On 16 April 2015, the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Filippo Bubbico intervened before the Senate of the Republic answering a parliamentary question concerning the legal status of children of people who benefit from international protection. At the outset, the Deputy Minister was asked to clarify whether it was true that, by means of a simple information circular, the Ministry of Home Affairs had intended to extend the acquisition of national citizenship on the basis of the ius soli principle to minors born in Italy from parents who benefit from international protection, similarly to what the law explicitly provides for minors born in Italy from stateless parents. Mr Bubbico said: