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Role of the Senate in Italy's Membership of the European Union

The New Role of Regions

Law 234 of 2012, like previously Law 11 of 2005, vests Regions with the authority to implement European directives on matters over which they have jurisdiction, save for the authority vested in the State to take over a Region's powers if this fails to fulfil its obligations. Direct involvement of Regions in the European process was given new momentum by Constitutional Amendment Law no. 3 of 18 October 2001, which amended Title V of the Constitution (Regions, Provinces and Communes). Under new Article 117 of the Constitution, State and Regions share legislative power "in compliance with the Constitution and with the constraints deriving from EU legislation and international obligations". The Act also establishes that Regions (and autonomous Provinces) may - as far as their jurisdiction is concerned - participate in "decisions leading to the development of EU regulatory measures" and "enforce EU measures, in compliance with the procedures provided in the national laws, regulating the ways in which the State may take over a Region's authority, should the latter fail to fulfil its obligations".

Law 234 of 2012 ensures that Regions and autonomous provinces take part in the EU law-making process. It establishes that EU proposals and background documents should be sent by the Government to Parliament and the Conference of Regional Presidents. For the purposes of defining an Italian position, Regions and autonomous Provinces may notify the Government of their opinions on matters under their jurisdiction. As is the case with Parliaments, a reservation is also envisaged for regions. Such reservation may be placed on a EU measure regulating matters under the legislative jurisdiction of Regions or autonomous Provinces. In this case, the Government may take part in the development of such measure only after it has been considered by the Conference of State and Regions or if the Conference has failed to provide an opinion after thirty days of the referral. The thirty-day period shall commence when the Government makes it known that it has placed the measure under parliamentary reservation at the EU Council of Ministers.

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