Italian Constitutional Referendum: Voting for Structural Reform or Constitutional Transformation?

As the distance between political elites and the population in Europe increases, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s plans of constitutional reform further impoverish political representation in Italy – both with respect to input and output of the process. That is why the opponents of the reform are gaining ever more traction among Italian voters and could in the end prevail.

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“Vote Yes for a Safe Italy” or “Vote No to Defend the Constitution”: Italian Constitutional Politics between Majoritarianism and Civil Resistance

In the run-up to the constitutional referendum in October, the Italian government meets considerable resistance towards its plans for a comprehensive reform of the Constitution of 1948. Both Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Constitutional Reform Minister Maria Elena Boschi regularly sustain that in case of a ‘No’ vote, chaos will rule. Public debate seems trapped in a Manichean game between yes-proponents that accuse the opposition of conservatism, and no-proponents that accuse the government of authoritarian leanings.

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Freedom of Religion vs Islamophobia: Lombardy’s “Anti-Mosque Law” is Unconstitutional

While islamophobia is on the rise after the carnages of Paris and Bruxelles, recent developments in Italy may foster the confidence in the freedom of religion of European Muslims. In a ground-breaking decision, the Italian Constitutional Court has nullified a regional “anti-mosques law” enacted by the Lombardy Region one year ago, discriminating the Muslim community of this rich and populated area of Northern Italy.

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Verfassungsreform in Italien: der entscheidende Schritt

Italien erlebt gerade den umfangreichsten und ambitioniertesten Prozess zur Reform seiner Verfassung seit Beginn der Republik. Die Regierung beabsichtigt, das schwerfällige, träge und ineffiziente Gesetzgebungssystem fundamental zu reformieren. Der Senat wird zu einer Kammer der Regionen mit sehr schwachen gesetzgeberischen Kompetenzen umfunktioniert. Das kurzfristige Ziel scheint aber im Moment eher zu sein, ein Zeichen der Reformbereitschaft zu setzen, als dem Land eine gut durchdachte und funktionierende neue Verfassung zu schenken.

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Straßburg zu Lampedusa: Menschenwürde muss krisenfest sein

Das Urteil kommt zur rechten Zeit: Flüchtlinge haben ein Recht auf Achtung ihrer Menschenwürde, auch wenn sehr viele in sehr kurzer Zeit ankommen und das Ankunftsland darauf sehr schlecht vorbereitet ist. Das ist die Quintessenz des heutigen Lampedusa-Urteils des Europäischen Gerichtshofs für Menschenrechte. Die „Krisen-“ und „Notstands“-Argumente, mit denen der Aufnahmestaat sich verteidigt, mögen noch so berechtigt sein – gegen die Menschenwürde richten sie nichts aus.

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“Italian-style” secession and the semi-indifference of national politics

On April 28th, the Italian Constitutional Court will hold a public hearing on the constitutionality of the planned independence referendum in the northern Italian region of Veneto. Unlike its Scottish and Catalan counterparts, the Veneto secession case has been largely ignored on the national political level in Italy. From a legal point of view, the unconstitutionality of an independence referendum seems hard to deny. But politically, nevertheless, treating regional separatism as a taboo could endanger the very thing it seeks to protect, the one and indivisible Republic of Italy.

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The “Anti-Mosques” Law of Lombardy and Religious Freedom in Italy

Lombardy, Italy’s most populous region, has just enacted a law that seems to be designed to make life for Muslims as hard as possible. On January 27th, the Council of the Lombardy Region has enacted amendments to the Regional Law that regulates the planning of buildings and other structures for religious purposes. These amendments make it extremely cumbersome to build new places of worship for all non-established religious denominations, particularly Muslims – while the still dominant Catholic Church remains exempted from the regulation. Discrimination is not the only aspect of the new law that makes its constitutionality look more than questionable.

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A Fresh Start: How to Resolve the Conflict between the ICJ and the Italian Constitutional Court

Three months ago the Italian Constitutional Court decided that it would infringe the fundamental rights of Italians to follow the International Court of Justice and uphold state immunity as a barrier for individual claims of war crime victims (decision no. 238 of 2014). First commentators have pointed out the conflict between the two courts and the regime collision between international and domestic law. Germany’s possible reaction to the Italian breach of international law has also been taken into consideration. Finally, the possible role of the Italian Constitutional Court’s reasoning in the further development of international law with regard to state immunity in cases of serious human rights violations, which amount to the breach of a jus cogens rule, has been the focus of some contributions. I would suggest making a fresh start in this debate. What we need right now are procedural mechanisms to harmonize for the future, as far as possible, the claim of sovereign immunity and access to the courts, in case a state happens to be in a better position to settle the dispute at the international level in the interests of the victims.

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Liberalisierung der Leihmutterschaft: Straßburg legt nach

Staaten, die Leihmutterschaft bekämpfen und verbieten wollen, dürfen das tun – aber sie dürfen diesen Kampf nicht auf dem Rücken des Kindes austragen. Im letzten Sommer hat der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte entschieden, dass die Staaten vor lauter Empörung nicht so tun dürfen, als habe ein von einer Leihmutter ausgetragenes Kind nicht einmal einen biologischen Vater mehr. Und erst im Dezember hat der Bundesgerichtshof daraus für Deutschland die Konsequenzen gezogen. Heute hat der Straßburger Gerichtshof eine Kammerentscheidung veröffentlicht, die zeigt, wie weit der Gerichtshof diese Linie zu treiben bereit ist.

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“We had something in mind, which then changed and became something different” – interview with Oreste Pollicino, co-founder of Diritti Comparati

You founded Diritti Comparati in 2010. What motivated you to start a blog on comparative law in Italy? We started publishing the first posts in March 2010. Diritti comparati was a group project, a collective effort from the start: we started with three collaborators, myself, Alberto Alemanno and Andrea Buratti. Raffaele Torino joined the project […]

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