The most clear-cut views to have been expressed to date by the Italian Government on the IGC have been contained in the statement on foreign policy matters which the new Government made to the Chamber of Deputies on 23 February 1995 and in the statement made to the Chamber of Deputies on 23 May 1995. Account should also be taken of the Joint Declaration on the IGC made by the German Foreign Minister, Mr Klaus Kinkel, and the Italian Foreign Minister, Mrs Susanna Agnelli, on 15 July 1995.
On 5 December 1995 the Prime Minister, Mr Lamberto Dini, submitted a government communication to the Chamber of Deputies on Italy's six-month presidency of the European Union. After a long debate, the Chamber adopted, on 7 December, a number of resolutions supporting the government's position as regards the presidency. On 1 January 1996 Italy took over the presidency of the Council of Ministers and its various organs. There is no doubt that the landmark event of this presidency was the opening of the IGC in Turin, on 29 March 1996. As far as the IGC is concerned, the key priority of the Italian presidency of the Council is to guide the negotiations on the basis of three principles. Firstly, the IGC must remedy the gaps and insufficiencies in the Treaty, and, above all, prepare the ground for the forthcoming enlargements of the Union. Secondly, on the basis of the Reflection Group's report and the conclusions of the Madrid European Council, the Italian presidency considers that the main aspects to be discussed in the negotiations should be all those related to the goal of a Treaty which the public can understand, which strengthens the Union's democratic character and the efficiency of its institutional mechanisms, which develops the Union's capacity to play a leading, coherent and responsible role on the world stage and which enables cooperation in justice and home affairs to serve to protect the freedom and security of the citizens in a meaningful way. Finally, the Italian presidency believes that the IGC should, from the outset, include the participation of public opinion.
The statement issued by the Government on 23 February 1995 concerning foreign policy matters and the Intergovernmental Conference lays down guidelines on the following four subjects: institutional matters, enlargement and relations with Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, consolidation of the second and third pillars, and measures to strengthen the 'people's Europe'. As regards the institutional aspects, the Italian Government believes that the weighting ofvotes needs to be changed and majority voting made the general rule within the Council. The size of the Commission should be reduced, and the presidency strengthened in order to make the Union more visible at the external level and more effective at the internal level. The document maintains that the Intergovernmental Conference should also strengthen democratic involvement in Union decision-making and accordingly proposes that a genuine hierarchy of norms be drawn up with a view to improving the operation of the codecision procedure, in which the Council and the European Parliament each have a say. The Italian Government is likewise calling for Treaty provisions to be organized according to a new technical and legal system, in order to make them more readily comprehensible to the public, and for certain essential constitutional principles to be spelt out explicitly, one such being the basic rights of European citizens, which must be properly protected and subject to review by the Luxembourg Court of Justice. As far as institutional organization is concerned, the document proposes that a way be found to reconcile general observance of certain key rules and policies, in practical terms, the four freedoms and the internal market, and opportunities for specific forms of involvement in other policies, subject to standard institutional procedures and equal conditions of eligibility, albeit depending on the distinct stages of activity. In short, the Italian Government warns against any attempt by particular countries to set up steering committees and maintains that 'opt-out' clauses and permanent exceptions should not be permitted.
With regard to enlargement and relations with Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, the Italian Government believes that the success of the Intergovernmental Conference is a prerequisite for future enlargement of the Union. It considers that the gradual adoption of Community legislation by the Central and Eastern European countries is a matter requiring careful attention and that the Union should likewise seek to foster integration by developing basic facilities and intensifying cooperation. At all events, it is likely that some policies, in particular the common agricultural policy, will need to be revised and adjusted. The document also warns against the possibility that enlargement towards the east might have made the Union lose sight of its interests in the Mediterranean area and consequently sets the utmost store by the Euro-Mediterranean Conference to be held in Barcelona in November 1995. In addition, it makes a number of points relating to consolidation of the second and third pillars. As regards the second pillar, it rejects the idea that there is no need to go beyond the intergovernmental level for the time being, maintaining instead that the CFSP needs to be strengthened and given a strong identity of its own. It proposes that the CFSP Secretariat be equipped with the resources required to improve its capacity for analysis and forecasting and encouraged to embark on specific steps and ventures in agreement with the Council and Commission and in keeping with the wishes of the Union presidency. The Italian Government is calling for the operational capability of the WEU to be strengthened and for the WEU's complementary relationship to the Atlantic Alliance to be consolidated and worked out in more detail. It believes that the concept of security and defence of the Union should be closely linked. In particular, the WEU should, according to the document, be converted into the defensive arm of the European Union. As far as the third pillar is concerned, the document points to the need to step up judicial and police cooperation and for national laws on the free movement of persons to be closely harmonized. The Italian Government says that it is especially interested in intensifying cooperation in the fight against corruption and in bringing the judicial andpolice systems of the Central and Eastern European countries gradually into line with those of the Union Member States.
This statement contains a number of preliminary remarks designed to provide the platform for the Italian representative to the Reflection Group. It focuses on the options proposed in order to meet three separate challenges: the challenge of diversity, the challenge of security, and the challenge of democratization.
The Italian Government statement advocates two basic responses to the challenge of diversity. On the one hand, some of the Union's operating rules must be changed and, on the other, the concept of differentiated integration needs to be properly defined. With regard to the institutional system of the Community, the Italian Government proposes that the number of decisions the Council of Ministers takes by consensus should be drastically reduced, while at the same time the extension of majority voting should be accompanied by efforts to give greater weight to citizens of the Member States in voting procedures. For this purpose, the Italian Government's statement advocates a double majority of the votes of the states and their populations, to prevent decisions they do not support being imposed on a majority of the Union's citizens. The Italian Government believes that the Commission should continue to act as guardian of the Treaties and maintain its capacity for initiative and analysis in the areas for which it is responsible. The Italian Government does not consider that a reduction in the number of Commissioners would increase the supranational nature of the institution and proposes a system whereby, although the number of Commissioners would not be reduced below the number of Member States, provision would be made for the larger Member States to have a Deputy Commissioner instead of two Commissioners as at present. With regard to the question of differentiated integration, the statement notes that it will be difficult to avoid arrangements of this kind for the new policies (foreign and security policy and justice and home affairs) where countries will move at different speeds although towards the same goal. The Italian Government believes that this will be the key for resolving the dilemma over deepening and widening, in other words, between unity and flexibility. The Italian Government considers that certain conditions must be set if integration is to proceed at different speeds, including first and foremost the principle of institutional unity, with a single Council, a single Parliament, and a single Court of Justice, all having the flexibility necessary in order to manage policies in which not all the Member States participate. A further necessary condition must be the preservation of the acquis communautaire. Subject to these two conditions, the Italian Government is willing to accept compromise arrangements to enable Member States to gradually become integrated in the policies in which they are temporarily not participating, provided that this is done on the basis of equal and predetermined conditions. In any case, more extensive integration should remain open to all Member States and should not be limited in an arbitrary and discriminatory way to certain specific sectors such as economic and monetary union. In this connection, the Italian Government's statement points out that the procedures and mechanisms for the single currency are not among the subjects due to be reviewed at the Intergovernmental Conference
In order to meet the challenge of security, the Italian Government believes that the Union's main priority should be to develop an international identity and a coherent foreign policy consistent with the world without frontiers of which it is a part. After condemning the outdated way of thinking that characterized the European concert of nations, which led the old continent into so many disasters and catastrophes, the Italian Government expresses the view that the progress made with the Maastricht Treaty is still incomplete and deficient. For the Italian Government, securing a consensus between Member States on the principles and content of the Union's foreign policy, as a kind of foreign policy agenda approved by Council and Parliament, could be a prior condition for a genuine Union foreign policy. Consequently, Italy will propose that the Member States should agree on the essential interests they intend to uphold and defend jointly, whether in terms of major geographical areas or more universal topics. In addition, the statement announces the Italian Government's intention of keenly pursuing the goal of following a common strategy at all times within all international organizations, particularly the United Nations and the Security Council, even if the aim of securing a permanent seat for the European Union on the Security Council continues to be a more long-term goal. In addition, the Italian Government believes that the Foreign Ministers of the Union could take decisions by majority vote more frequently, confining the need for unanimity to questions where national interests are closely involved, such as defence, and devising more flexible formulas which will enable a number of Union members to act alone in a climate of joint cooperation and solidarity. With regard to the institutional structure of the second pillar, the Italian Government believes it is absolutely vital for there to be a permanent body empowered to represent the Union in foreign policy matters, with proper structures and performing the tasks of analysing, formulating, proposing and implementing Council decisions. If this principle were to be accepted, the Italian Government would propose that a secretary-general be nominated by the Council, and possibly confirmed by Parliament, in order to give the Union a recognizable identity and confer greater continuity, credibility, responsibility, legitimacy and transparency on the measures it takes, thereby overcoming the constraints imposed by the rotating presidency. As an alternative, the Italian Government also puts forward the idea of an elective presidency, for a period of two or three years, also nominated by the Council and approved by Parliament, although it acknowledges that it would not be easy for an elected presidency to coexist with the system of rotating presidencies and the countless meetings of the Council of Ministers, committees and working parties that would ensue. Consequently, it also suggests that foreign policy could be separated from the other responsibilities of the presidency, in which case the elected president would chair the General Affairs Council and would be assisted by a vice-president, who would be replaced every six months in accordance with the usual rotation and would belong to the country chairing the other Council meetings. The Italian Government's statement proposes that the Western European Union should be the instrument of security and defence for the foreign policy of the Union, although it should be gradually absorbed into the European Union. In this connection, the Italian Government believes that certain institutional changes, such as ensuring that membership of the WEU and the European Union gradually coincide, harmonizing the presidencies, and gradually integrating the functions of the secretariats of the CFSP and WEU, leading to an eventual merger of the two organizations, could give a higher profile to the WEU's capacity to formulate and implement measures with security and defence implications, acting at the same time as a catalyst for European cohesion within the Atlantic Alliance, which would continue to be the basicpillar of collective defence and of the ties between the United States and Europe.
With regard to the challenge of democratization, the Italian Government's statement takes the view that democratizing the Union means above all that broader legislative powers should be given to the European Parliament, representing the sovereignty of the people, to be exercised through simplified procedures confined for the most part to consultation, codecision and assent. Specifically, the codecision procedure involving the European Parliament should be more widely used by introducing, as proposed by Italy during the debates on the Maastricht Treaty, a hierarchy of acts, which would be divided into three levels: first, constitutional laws, for which unanimity or a reinforced majority would be needed in the Council, together with ratification by national parliaments; second, legislative provisions, which should establish a general framework for particular sectors or subjects and should be adopted by a majority vote in Council in codecision with the European Parliament; finally, regulatory and implementing provisions, which should be the responsibility of the Council, which could delegate to the Commission for those areas which are not left in the hands of the Member States in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. Democratization also means that the national parliaments should be more closely involved in the tasks of the Union. Leaving aside the idea of establishing an assembly of national legislators to act as a third chamber, the Italian Government considers that, as well as exerting greater control over the actions of the respective governments in the Union, national parliaments should step up their contact, exchange of information and coordination with the European Parliament. As for the possibility of including among the common policies the other sectors already mentioned in the Treaty, the Italian Government feels that the Union should not be given too many areas of responsibility, but rather that flexible use should be made of the subsidiarity principle, which could be more clearly defined so as to avoid an excessive amount of regulation not only in the Union but also in the Member States. However, the Italian Government does not believe it is advisable to draw up a list of exclusive competences. With regard to the ' people's Europe', the Italian Government proposes that a full list of fundamental rights and freedoms should be drawn up so that the notion of European citizenship would include all forms of expression, association, activity and free movement of citizens, with particular reference to civil rights, relations with the institutions, education, employment and the family. It also recommends that the instruments for upholding and protecting these rights vis-à-vis the institutions should be strengthened and extended, particularly as regards the Court of Justice. With regard to cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs, the Italian Government intends to propose measures designed to simplify joint decision-making, strengthen the binding nature of legal instruments, introduce decision-making mechanisms specific to the Community institutions, and overcome the existing constraints on the power to instigate and initiate policy. Finally, with a view to increasing transparency in the Union and making its main laws more comprehensible, the Italian Government proposes that the provisions adopted during the last 40 years should be brought together and consolidated in a single text, and that a constitution should be drawn up defining the institutions, their powers, basic principles and rights and also including, in the form of protocols, the internal market, economic and monetary union and the new common policies.
This declaration was made following the meeting in Monte Argentario, Italy, on 15 July 1995 between the German and Italian Foreign Ministers and includes an undertaking by the two countries to cooperate closely in the preparations for the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference. Under the terms of the declaration, both countries would be guided by the following principles at the Intergovernmental Conference:
An essential point in the joint declaration relates to the common foreign and security policy. The declaration gives priority to bringing the countries of central and eastern Europe closer to the European Union and the transatlantic structure, a process to which they give their express support. With regard to the Mediterranean region, both countries also undertake to contribute to the success of the Euro-Mediterranean conference to be held in Barcelona on 27 and 28 November 1995. Both parties also express support for the peace process in the Middle East as an important precondition for stability in the Mediterranean region, while also calling on Europe and its transatlantic partners to develop a shared vision for the twenty-first century. With this in view, both countries believe that transatlantic links must continue to be a driving force behind global trade liberalization within the framework of the World Trade Organization. Both ministers stress the importance of incorporating Russia within the western cooperation structure and call for closer relations between NATO and Russia. Finally, both countries support the reform of the current UN system and its institutions, including the Security Council, while calling on UN member states to meet their financial obligations.
This four-part document was submitted in the days leading up to the Turin European Council. The first part sets out Europe's options for the future; the second describes the Italian Presidency's preparations for the IGC; the third summarizes the Italian position on specific aspects of the negotiations; and the fourth considers the future course of those negotiations.
On the IGC and options for the future, the Italian Government intends to continue with Italy's traditional pro-European commitment, seeking to further develop European integration by means of the following strategic priorities: firstly, consolidation of the Union's federal dimension via greater internal solidarity and cohesion and the bolstering of its capacity to project a common external image enabling it to defend the shared values of all the Member States concerning peace, stability and freedom; secondly, action to prevent any return to a 'Europe of nation-states' which would eventually lead to 'nation-states without Europe'; thirdly, to strengthen the Union's existing structures and institutions; and fourthly, action to stop the Union being surreptitiously transformed into a glorified free-trade area with no soul and no real perspectives for the future.
On the Italian Presidency's preparations for the IGC, the text states that a draft agenda for the IGC will be put to the Turin European Council, setting out three major subjects for the intergovernmental negotiations: relations between the citizens and the Union; adjustments to the institutional set-up; and the Union's external identity.
Concerning Italy's position on the concrete aspects of the negotiations, the Government's priorities are centred on those three main subjects. On relations between the citizens and the Unions, Italy's priorities are: firstly, inclusion in the first part of the Treaty of certain fundamental rights, applicable to everyone irrespective of nationality (specific proposals are made as regards non-discrimination, action against racism and xenophobia and respect for majority rights); secondly, development in the Treaty of the concept of citizenship, through the inclusion of more far-reaching civil and social rights, making it clear that European citizenship complements national citizenship rather than replacing it; and thirdly, detailed revision of the rules governing cooperation in justice and home affairs (CJHA). On the last point, Italy proposes: a more precise definition of the areas covered by joint positions, joint actions and agreements, and a review of those instruments; the gradual transfer of certain areas to the Community pillar, including immigration, asylum policy and the juridical status of third-country nationals legally resident in the Union; reaffirmation of the legally binding character of joint positions and actions and the possible introduction of legal instruments comparable to Community directives; empowerment of the Court of Justice to rule on acts adopted under the Treaty's provisions on justice and home affairs, together with a reinforcement of parliamentary control; incorporation in the Treaty of the Schengen agreement in the context of a 'differentiated solidarity' mechanism; and rationalization of decision-making.
In the fourth place, the Italian text examines the subject of employment, which it considers must be one of the key themes of the IGC. Italy believes that the revised Treaty must include a chapter on employment committing the Member States to undertake closer coordination of their employment policies on the basis of the strategic guidelines adopted at the Essen and Cannes European Councils. However, Italy does not think the IGC should review the existing Treaty provisions on EMU. Concerning the environment, the Italian view is that more effective protection would be ensured by majority voting in this field and other related areas, such as taxation. Italy believes that the inclusion of certain new policies in the Treaty (in the areas of energy, tourism and civil protection) and the strengthening of certain existing policies ( social policy, consumer protection) would improve the public perception of the Union. It also considers that inclusion of the social protocol in the Treaty should be a major objective of the Conference.
On transparency, Italy favours its strengthening, by means of specific provisions regulating the publicization of Union acts and access to all documents and through simplified legislative procedures and a more transparent Treaty. Italy also believes that the occasion of reforming the Treaty should be used to confer legal personality on the Union, thus removing one of the main problems of the existing three-pillar structure. The principles of subsidiarity, proximity and proportionality should also be given their due importance: in this connection, Italy would accept a protocol to the Treaty setting out some of the elements of the 'code of conduct' approved by the Edinburgh European Council. It feels, however, that over-emphasizing subsidiarity could undermine the Commission's ability to submit proposals, re-fragment the single market and destroy the uniform nature of Community law. Finally, Italy believes that the principle of the equality of all the Union's working languages at all levels of the EU must be scrupulously adhered to.
Concerning changes to the institutional set-up of the Union with a view to enlargement, Italy believes that the existing institutional balance should be retained, as should the single institutional framework for all spheres of Union action. A number of alterations to the workings and composition of the institutions are nonetheless proposed. On the Commission, Italy considers that it should keep its existing and irreplaceable role as the guardian of the Treaties standing in a relation of trust with the Member States and the European Parliament; its powers of initiative should be extended to the field of justiceand home affairs. On the number of Commissioners, which Italy considers to be too high already, it is suggested that, while compromise solutions could be considered, there should be less Commissioners than Member States. On the European Council and the General Affairs Council, without wishing to prejudice the increasing political importance of either, Italy considers that the main innovation required is to introduce the generalized use of majority voting in the Community sphere, with the sole exception of certain 'constitutional' provisions; it also argues that majority voting should be gradually applied to Titles V and VI of the Treaty. Italy favours reforming the weighting of votes in Council to take greater account of population, and, as a transitional measure, proposes recourse to a reinforced qualified majority for certain areas at present subject to the unanimity rule. Italy also believes that the IGC should examine the Council's working methods, which have visibly deteriorated in recent years; it wishes to see a genuine qualitative and quantitative reinforcement of the Council Secretariat and the clear attribution to the General Affairs Council and COREPER of the task of global coordination of Union activities, in respect of which it is proposed that Article 151 of the Treaty should be redrafted. Italy does not, however, believe it vital to change the existing six-month rotation arrangement for the Council Presidency, although it believes that consideration should be given to proposals which might genuinely improve the situation.
On the European Parliament, Italy considers that the IGC should rationalize and consolidate its role: Parliament should participate more fully in the CFSP and in CJHA. Equality between Parliament and the Council should be ensured through a hierarchy of acts tying the procedure for adopting acts to their status, and the number of legislative procedures should be reduced to three: assent (which should be extended, at least, to the revision of the Treaties), codecision and consultation. Codecision could be streamlined via eliminating superfluous stages and abolishing the possibility of a third reading in Council in the case of disagreement in the Conciliation Committee. On the membership of Parliament, Italy favours a ceiling of 650 to 700 MEPs, which should not be raised after future enlargements. It also advocates setting a deadline for adoption of a single electoral procedure.
On the subject of the national parliaments, Italy considers that their closer association with Union activities entails the effective application of the declarations annexed to the Treaty and he more effective organization of consultation and information links between the national parliaments and their European select committees. The Union's own procedures should also be structured so as to permit more substantial dialogue between the Member State governments and their national parliaments. On the Court of Justice, Italy believes that its existing powers should be preserved in full and extended to the field of cooperation in home affairs and justice on matters directly affecting the rights and freedoms of citizens. It also favours preserving and developing the powers of the Court of Auditors - above all in the context of intensified anti-fraud action - and the Committee of the Regions. Finally, on the subject of flexibility and differentiated integration, Italy believes that the revised Treaty should explicitly set out this principle, alongside a series of indispensable conditions for its operation. These should include preservation of the single institutional framework and the entire acquis communautaire and confirmation that Member States joining a Union policy or sphere of action at a later date will do so on a basis of formal and substantive equality.
On the Union's external identity, Italy believes that the IGC should give priority to the following: rationalization of competences in the area of external economic relations, with a view to improved coordination at Union level in the fields of world trade and development cooperation; creation of an analysis, planning and implementation unit for the CFSP, so as to ensure improved preparation and follow-up of Council decisions; greater visibility and coherence for the CFSP, with the appointment to this end of a 'personality' or secretary-general who would be responsible for continuity at Union level and would assist the rotating presidency and discharge the tasks confided to him by the Council, while fully respecting the competences attributed by the Treaty to the Commission concerning external relations and fostering the coherence of all aspects of the image projected by the Union to the world; reform of the unanimity rule once a consensus has been reached at the highest decision-making level (the European Council) on the principles and substance of the Union's external policy (Italy believes that such a prior consensus would facilitate greater use of simpler decision-making formulas, such as constructive abstention and reinforced qualified majority voting, on the basis of respect for political and financial solidarity on the basis of appropriate rules); and construction of the European security and defence dimension via implementation of the Treaty provisions on the CFSP, leading eventually to a common defence, on the basis of full respect for the transatlantic agreements. Italy also supports working towards the absorption of the WEU by the EU: this process could begin by incorporating the 'Petersberg missions' into the Treaty and bringing the WEU structures under the Union's aegis. Italy wishes to see this objective expressly set out in the Treaty itself. Finally, Italy would support moves towards closer cooperation between the Member States in the field of armaments, in particular through the creation of a multilateral European structure.
Concerning the establishment of a planning and analysis unit and the definition of a 'new function including executive tasks', Italy would prefer to see an institutional structure operating as follows: the European Council would be the highest authority as regards the political dynamic of the Union's external policy and the definition of its objectives; the Council of Ministers would be the decision-making body; and the future Secretary-General for external policy would be responsible for planning and the implementation of decisions, under the political control of the Council and in structured coordination with the Presidency-in-Office and the Commission. Italy believes that this would entail creating a coordinated analysis, planning and implementation structure (a type of European external policy committee) in which the Presidency, the Commission and the future CFSP Secretary-General would cooperate in the various phases of external policy, providing it with the requisite coherence, effectiveness and visibility.
Finally, the Italian text considers the question of the evolution of the negotiations, stating that Italy wishes to avoid lowest-common-denominator solutions and aims to help constitute, along with Member States with similar sympathies, a 'critical mass' which will enable the Union to achieve further progress while preserving its unique character.
Europaen Parliament, last revised: 18 September 1996