Welcome from the President of the Senate
Welcome to the special Senate website dedicated to the 12th Meeting of the Association of European Senates (AES), which will be held in Rome, at Palazzo Madama, on 15-17 April 2010. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Association, which was founded in 2000 by the then President of the French Senate, Christian Poncelet, and today has 15 members. It is a source of particular pleasure for us to be celebrating this anniversary with the French Senate and its current President, Gérard Larcher. This bears witness to the vitality of these regular meetings between the Presidents of the Upper Houses of our Europe: a Europe that is now grappling with challenges and problems that can determine the course of history: climate change, energy security, financial stability, employment issues and the new challenges posed by immigration, amongst other things. But it is a Europe that is more united and more advanced than ever before. During the past few years, here in the Italian Senate, we have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and the 60th anniversary of the Atlantic Alliance. Today, together with the other European Upper Houses, we are welcoming the recent entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which will strengthen the institutions of the European Union and vest the national Parliaments with new tasks and responsibilities. And we are also celebrating the extraordinary development of cooperation between parliaments worldwide, which is increasingly projecting our Parliamentary institutions into an area - the field of international relations - which has hitherto been the exclusive domain of governments. In the Rome meeting, we shall exchange views on these and other topics. And I am sure that the public will understand the importance of a debate forging ever closer links among the Parliaments of a free Europe.
Topics for debate
In bicameral systems, the Senate or Upper House plays an important role both domestically and at the European and global levels. And it is precisely this role and function of the Upper Houses that will be debated at the 12th Meeting of the Association of European Senates, which has chosen as its themes....
In preparation for the Meeting of the Association of European Senates on 16 and 17 April 2010, the Italian Senate has compiled a questionnaire on the various agenda items. It focuses in particular on...