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Implementation of EU legislation

The European Delegation Law and the European Law

Law 234/2012 decrees that, instead of the annual bill covering EU-related matters provided for by previous national legislation, the Government must bring a European Delegation Bill before both Houses of Parliament by the 28th of February of each year. Once enacted, the European Delegation Law confers powers on Government to transpose EU directives into Italian law, give legal force to other EU measures, and amend or repeal existing legislation to ensure that Italian domestic law complies with the reasoned opinions or judgments of the European Court of Justice. The European Delegation Law identifies which EU directives require the prior submission of a legislative decree or an Implementing Regulation to the competent parliamentary committees for an opinion prior to enactment. If fresh issues of compliance arise, Government may, by the 31st of July of each year, present an additional European Delegation Bill pertaining to the second half of the same year. According to the Chamber's Rules of Procedure on the Community Bill, the European Delegation Bill shall be examined along with the Government's annual report on the participation of Italy in the EU legislative process over the previous year (see above) as part of a sort of "European session", with specific deadlines for consideration by Committees. Consideration is carried out both by the Committee for EU Policies, which acts in a reporting capacity, and by other parliamentary committees, which act with reference to their areas of particular competence.

Law 234/2012 also stipulates that, when necessary, Government may present Parliament with a "European Bill", which, once enacted, assigns Government the power to pass direct legislation in fulfilment of EU regulatory obligations. The resulting European Law will contain provisions allowing the amendment or repeal of national laws that have been the object of infringement proceedings or adverse judgments from the Court of Justice, provisions required to implement European Union acts and international agreement of the EU, as well as provisions promulgated in connection with the exercise of surrogate power.

Verifying the compatibility of bills with EU legislation - the Chamber's procedure

Under the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies, the EU Policies Committee is required to issue an opinion on the compatibility with EU legislation of all bills containing provisions of European relevance. Pursuant to a circular letter issued by the President of the Chamber of Deputies, such opinions are always to be designated as "reinforced", a designation that has specific procedural consequences.

The relevant parliamentary committees are also required to consider questions of compatibility with EU legislation during the pre-legislative scrutiny of a bill.

Parliamentary scrutiny of infringement procedures

To ensure parliamentary control over infringement procedures, Law 234/2012 requires Government:

  • every quarter year, to forward a list to Parliament containing all judgments pertaining to Italy of the Court of Justice (ECJ) and other EU's judicial institutions, all requests from Italian courts for preliminary rulings from the ECJ, any infringement proceedings against Italy, formal investigation procedures regarding the provision of state aid that the European Commission may have begun; and, every six months, to acquaint Parliament with the financial implications, if any, of these judgments and proceedings;
  • every six months, to inform the Houses of Parliament on the progress made by regions and autonomous provinces in transposing those elements of European directives that fall within their purview;
  • to present a report to the Houses of Parliament setting out the reasons for delay if a bill for the transposition of an EU directive is not passed by the deadline set by the EU;
  • to apprise the Houses of Parliament of a decision by the European Commission to open infringement proceedings as soon as it receives notification of the same from the European Commission;
  • within 20 days of apprising Parliament of the opening of infringement proceedings, to provide Parliament with a report setting out the reasons for the opening of the infringement proceedings and the steps that Government intends to take to resolve the matter;
  • to inform Parliament of any significant developments in infringement proceedings initiated with reference to article 260 TFEU, which establishes that a Member State that fails to implement a judgment of the Court of Justice may be subject to a further judgment from the Court ordering it to remit a lump sum or penalty payment.