Conference "Rule of Law and State of Rights"
On 3 October 2016, the Department for European Policies organised the conference "Europe: Rule of Law and State of Rights" hosted at the Senate of the Republic.
The event took place in the context of the initiatives for the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, which will be celebrated on 25 March 2017 with the main purpose to promote a wide-range debate on the respect of the Rule of Law in the EU.
Pietro Grasso, President of the Senate, gave his institutional welcome and called for a political and cultural reshaping of the Union, urging policy makers to start from our common history and identity.
The principles set out in the Treaty on European Union are not the outcome of a creative work, but rather the expression of a shared and total rejection of the wars, atrocities, persecutions and offences to human dignity experienced by European peoples altogether". On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, "we are discouraged and concerned face to the reappearance of egoistic, nationalist, populist, xenophobic attitudes that seemed to be forgotten once and for all. The economic crisis, the migration flows and the geopolitical imbalances threatening Europe along its Eastern and Southern borders, have revealed the serious political weaknesses of the Union, which need to be tackled with realism and determination".
Sandro Gozi, Undersecretary of State to European Policies, underscored that "relaunching" the Union means rediscovering unity and respect of fundamentals, that is, protection of rights and the rule of law. "Solidarity between Member States is not an option. Solidarity is not 'flexible' as some may believe"- he added. "It is both an implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon and a shared responsibility, a binding principle and a fundamental value. Undoubtedly, it is not by renouncing to our freedom of movement that we will increase our security".
Furthermore, Gozi also stated that "today, in Europe, there are growing political forces calling for death penalty, aiming at destroying Schengen; they do not recognise the universal values set out in the Nice Charter of Fundamental Rights and try to shut the door to all those considered as ‘different’. This is the wrong answer to an unprecedented economic and social crisis, which risks to undermine the principles of democracy. If our Union is not be able to react swiftly and fit into such a fast-changing, and at times violent, reality, its very future will be in jeopardy".
The debate continued with speeches delivered by Giuliano Amato (Judge to the Constitutional Court), Harlem Désir (French Minister for European Affairs), Bert Koenders (Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs), Didier Reynders (Belgian Minister for European and Foreign Affairs), Nikos Xydakis (Greek Minister for European Affairs), Margarida Marques (Portuguese Secretary of State to European Affairs), Emma Bonino (former European Commissioner and Minister for Foreign Affairs) and Michael O'Flaherty (Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights).
Monitoring the respect for fundamental rights, especially with regard to the States which have recently joined the EU, provided food for further debate, as well as the tools to be implemented and reinforced for such a monitoring – like the "political dialogue" within the Council, adopted at the initiative of the Italian Presidency in December 2014.
The Rule of Law is a fundamental principle of Member States constitutional traditions, as well as a founding value of EU Treaties and respecting it is still one of the main conditions for any country willing to join the Union.
Conferenza "Europa: Stato di diritto e stato dei diritti"