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.
The situation in Libya was of great concern for the Italian Government during 2016. The instability of the African country and the risk of increased terrorist activities on Libyan soil carried a significant weight in the reports of the Italian executive in front of the Parliament. Within these issues, the parliamentary practice of Italy highlighted three strictly intertwined legal questions, namely the requirements for military intervention and for humanitarian assistance in Libya, as well as the boundaries of the concept of self-defence. It should not come as a surprise that in this case, during 2016, migration issues played a relatively minor role with respect to security concerns. One might take the view that the stability of the State and the need of having an effective government can be seen as preconditions for tackling the root causes of migration. Speaking about the requirements for intervening militarily in Libya the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, affirmed the need of obtaining a formal request from the legitimate government. On 9 March 2016, in front of the Chamber of Deputies (586th Meeting, XVII Legislature) he stated the following:
CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVII LEGISLATURE, 667th MEETING, 3 AUGUST 2016.
On 3 August 2016, the Minister of Defence, Ms. Roberta Pinotti, answering a parliamentary question on the alleged involvement of Italy in the US air operations against ISIS in Libya, stated:
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:
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:
SENATE OF THE REPUBLIC, XVI LEGISLATURE, JOINT MEETING OF THE 3rd COMMISSION (FOREIGN AFFAIRS) AND THE 4th COMMISSION (DEFENCE) OF THE SENATE WITH THE 3rd COMMISSION (FOREIGN AFFAIRS) AND THE 4th COMMISSION (DEFENCE) OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, 13th MEETING, 16 JANUARY 2013.
On 16 January 2013, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Terzi di Sant’Agata, reported before the Parliament on the situation of Italian peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations. The Minister commented upon the outbreak of a new round of hostilities in Mali, the situation in Libya and in Syria and considered the role of Italian missions in those countries. Here follow some excerpts from the Minister’s speech:
CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, XVI LEGISLATURE, 450th MEETING, 16 MARCH 2011 – QUESTION TIME.
On 16 March 2011, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Franco Frattini, replied to a Parliamentary question concerning the situation in Libya. Having described Italy’s key political and humanitarian role in the crisis, the Minister explained the conditions determining the consent to a military action in Libya. He stated: