Tag Archives: Sanctions

The Italian Government’s Stance on the Annexation of Crimea and the Sanctions against the Russian Federation

On the Sanctions Adopted by the EU against the Russian Federation

On 5 June 2018, Italy’s newly appointed Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri (President of the Council of Ministers), Mr Giuseppe Conte, made his first address to Parliament, seeking a confidence vote in the Senato della Repubblica (Senate of the Republic, 9th Meeting, XVIII Legislature). While outlining the foreign policy program of his Government, he also made reference to the sanctions adopted by the European Union after the annexation of Ukraine by the Russian Federation[1]. In this context, Mr Conte stated:

With regard to international scenarios, markets and security, firstly we intend to confirm our country’s convinced belonging to the North Atlantic Alliance, with the United States of America as a privileged, traditionally privileged, ally. But pay close attention! We will be advocates of an opening towards Russia. A Russia that has consolidated its international role in various geopolitical crises in recent years. We will push for a review of the sanctions system, starting from those [measures] that risk humiliating the Russian civil society.

It is noteworthy, however, that on the following day NATO Secretary General, Mr Jens Stoltenberg, emphasized the importance of political dialogue but also recalled the role of sanctions[2]. In similar terms, the US Ambassador to NATO, Mr Bailey Hutchinson, underlined the need to maintain sanctions and avoid any hesitation, highlighting that the lack of unity between allies would be a bad signal to Russia[3].

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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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The 2016 Practice of Italy on Arms Exports

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.

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on the decisions to be taken at the EU level regarding sanctions against Russia


The issue of sanctions against Russia was dealt with also in the meeting of the Chamber of Deputies held on 26 November 2015. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mr Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, answering a parliamentary question regarding the meeting of the G20 held in Antalya, clarified the Government’s position on the sanctionatory regime and the future decisions to be adopted at the European level in that respect. He stated:

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Sanctions against Russia: a parliamentary motion approved


On 25 June 2015, the Chamber of Deputies was called upon to vote on several parliamentary motions concerning initiatives aimed at lifting the sanctions of the European Union against the Russian Federation and the achievement of a politico-diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine. The Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Mr Carlo Calenda, illustrated to the Chamber the opinion of the Government with regard to those motions. He stated:

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The Government’s views on the situation in Ukraine and sanctions against the Russian Federation


On 13 February 2015, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, examined some recent developments in the Ukrainian crisis and took position on the prospects of softening sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation. He stated: Continue reading

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


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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