HomeIdeaSustainable development in the Constitution and the vices of Italian democracy. #Clean shovels

Sustainable development in the Constitution and the vices of Italian democracy. #Clean shovels

Sustainable development is fully among the objectives of the Italian Republic, thanks to the reform of articles 9 and 41 of the Constitution. The Constitutional Charter is updated, in particular, with respect to the objectives of protecting the environment, biodiversity and ecosystems, animal and human health.

The impact of this reform can be significant, also taking into account the competing competences of Regions, Autonomous Provinces and local authorities. Therefore, the constitutionality of the sources of primary and secondary law should be examined, as well as administrative acts and proceedings in progress.

However, democracy in Italy is still flawed. Under the check of a group of power, the magic circle of Coldiretti, which commands politics and interferes with the public administration in crucial sectors for the protection of the environment, health and animal welfare. #Clean shovels

1) Sustainable development, the reform of the Italian Constitution in 2022

1.1) Introduction

The 8.2.22 the Chamber of Deputies definitively approved, with a majority of two thirds of its members, the constitutional bill already approved by the Senate. L'iter legis it is thus concluded. The text intervenes to reform articles 9 and 41 of the Constitution, by inserting:

- protection of the environment, biodiversity and ecosystems among the fundamental principles,

- the protection of all animals, with criteria to be defined by state law.

1.2) Article 9. Culture, research, landscape, historical and artistic heritage

The article 9 of the Italian Constitution crystallizes the duties - for the State and the Regions, in the matters subject to concurrent and exclusive legislation (see next paragraph 2.2) - to:

- promote the development of culture and scientific and technical research,

- protect the landscape and the historical and artistic heritage of the nation.

1.3) New article 9. Environment, biodiversity and ecosystems, animal health and animal welfare

The new article 9 extends the responsibilities of the State - as well as of Regions, autonomous provinces and local bodies, in the areas of their respective competence - to the protection ofthe environment, biodiversity and ecosystems, also in the interest of future generations. The law of the State must also regulate the methods and forms of animal protection. '

Responsibilities of central, regional and local public bodies in Italy are thus expanded in a direction that considers the environment:

- in its current value, on a par with landscape, historical, artistic and cultural heritage,

- in the perspective of sustainable development, already since 1987 indicated as the condition of '' ensure the satisfaction of the needs of the present generation without compromising the possibility of future generations to realize theirs'(Brundtland report, Our common future).

1.4) Article 41, freedom and limits of private economic initiative

The private economic initiative is stated as'frees it', in Article 41 of the Constitution, provided that'contrary to social utility or in a way that damages security, freedom and human dignity'. An unrealistic freedom, however, in the country-symbol of bureaucracy and distortions of competition. (1)

The limits the freedom of economic initiative are now also extended to damage to health andenvironment. The law must determine the appropriate programs and controls, so that public and private economic activity can therefore be directed and coordinated for social purposes and also, with the news, to environmental purposes.

2) Concurrent legislation

La constitutional law 18.10.01 n. 3, it is recalled, it has assigned to the Regions the legislative competence on all matters not explicitly reserved to the State.

The article 117 of the Constitutional Charter therefore distinguishes the matters subject to legislative power:

- exclusive of the State, on 'protection of the environment, ecosystem and cultural heritage'(and in various other sectors indicated in the first paragraph),

- exclusive of the Regions (in all matters not reserved to the State),

- competitor. The state has the task of defining thefundamental principles'and the Regions to legislate, on these bases, in the following matters.

2.1) Concurrent legislation, matters

Concurrent legislation of the State and Regions is provided for, in article 117.2 of the Constitution, for the following matters:

- relations, international and with the EU, of the Regions,

- foreign trade,

- occupational safety and security,

- education, without prejudice to the autonomy of educational institutions and with the exclusion of education and vocational training,

- professions,

- scientific and technological research and support for innovation for the productive sectors,

- health protection,

- supply,

- sports regulations,

- civil protection,

- government of the territory,

- civil ports and airports,

- large transport and navigation networks,

- organization of communication,

- national energy production, transport and distribution,

- complementary and supplementary pensions,

- harmonization of public budgets and coordination of public finance and the tax system,

- enhancement of cultural and environmental heritage and promotion and organization of cultural activities,

- savings banks, rural banks, regional credit companies,

- regional land and agricultural credit institutions.

2.2) Concurrent legislation, modalities

The Regions and the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano, in the matters of their exclusive and concurrent competence (in the latter case, in compliance with the fundamental principles established by the laws of the State):

- participate in decisions aimed at the formation of EU regulatory acts, e

- ensure the implementation and execution of international agreements and European Union acts.

2.3) Regulatory power and administrative functions

Regulatory authority it is up to:

- to the State in matters of exclusive legislation, unless delegated to the Regions,

- to the Regions in any other matter,

- to the Municipalities, Provinces and Metropolitan Cities, for the organization and performance of the functions attributed to them.

Administrative functions 'are attributed to the Municipalities unless, to ensure their unitary operation, they are assigned to Provinces, Metropolitan Cities, Regions and the State, on the basis of the principles of subsidiarity, differentiation and adequacy'(Constitution, article 118).

Municipalities, Provinces and Metropolitan Cities they are holders of their own administrative functions and those conferred by state or regional law, according to their respective competences. Like the Regions, they have financial autonomy (of income and expenditure) and have autonomous resources (articles 118,119).

3) European treaties and rules, governance

The Italian Republic and the entities public and private entities that refer to them are in turn subject to the European Treaties and rules. As well as their official interpretation - binding for all judges in the EU, of all levels and levels - of the European Court of Justice. These norms, it should be noted, rank higher than the constitutional norms in the hierarchy of sources of law.

in 1987 - at the dawn of the fourth European environmental action program (Environment Action Program, EAP) - a new chapter of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) was introduced, dedicated precisely to the protection of the environment (current articles 191 to 193, in addition to article 11). And the EU has primary competence in all areas of environmental policy.

3.1) The environment in the Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)

'Union policy in environmental matters, it contributes to pursuing the following objectives:

- safeguarding, protecting and improving the quality of the environment,

- protection of human health,

- prudent and rational use of natural resources,

- international promotion of measures aimed at solving environmental problems at regional or global level and, in particular, at combating climate change.

The Union's environmental policy aims at a high level of protection, taking into account the diversity of situations in the various regions of the Union. It is founded on principles of precaution and preventive action, on the principle of correction, primarily at the source, of the damage caused to the environment, as well as on the principle "the polluter pays" ' (TFEU, Article 191).

3.2) Governance European

La governance European it was introduced in 2001 with the White Paper of the same name. (2) And it has been developed, in the last two decades, in order to pursue the two essential objectives of:

- transparency, in the relations between the social parties concerned (public and private bodies of all kinds) and the European institutions. Also through the establishment of the EU Transparency Register,

- participation of all stakeholder (the social partners, including individual citizens) to training courses in EU policies, rules and their implementing acts. The drafts of which are now always subject to public consultation (Have your say).

4) Flawed democracy

The short story under examination brings the Italian Constitutional Charter closer to the reforms introduced 35 years ago in the TFEU, which already ranks above the Constitution. Repetita juvant, in any case, in a country where not even the Council of State seems to have learned the official value of the interpretation of the European Court of Justice. (3)

The problem however, it is another. To the culture of European law - still lacking, as the case of expiry shows ex lege of fresh milk, in contrast with EU rules as well as causing food waste with a negative impact on the environment (4) - it is added that of governance, whose defect often clashes with environmental objectives.

4.1) Transparency e governance, the Italian trouble

Transparency e governance remain the worst trouble in Italy, as has already been noted, in politics and public administration. (5) So for example, Coldirette policies diverted every PNRR resource destined for agriculture - for the protection of soils and waters (drinking e agricultural), biodiversity e animal welfare - on photovoltaic panels, logistics and innovation / mechanization. (6)

1,5 billion EUR that would have served to reduce the use of pesticides and build stables for cattle still bred 'on the chain' (also in the Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padani PDO supply chains) will instead go to those who make photovoltaic panels whose Life Cycle Assessment it is far from ecological. And above all, it has nothing to do with agricultural production. (7)

4.2) Cement, road logistics, stable lawns without water

Overbuilding of rural areas is another phenomenon of absolute gravity which sees, among its protagonists, some distinguished representatives of Coldiretti. Two cases are mentioned in that Emilia-Romagna that is now more gray than red, under the guidance of a Stefano Bonaccini blessed with Sardines:

- 73 hectares of wetland protected under the habitat directive, as well as the last historic Emilian rice paddy, in Malalbergo. Mauro Tonello - former president of Coldiretti Emilia-Romagna and v. President of national Coldiretti, now president of Società Italiana Sementi, SIS SpA, claims the right to 'do business' with the sale of a holding French who aspires to pour concrete on 516 square meters of agricultural land to build a road logistics center, (8)

- 36 hectares of agricultural land in the municipalities of Reggio Emilia, Correggio and San Martino in Rio have just been invested with concrete, instead, to host an electric car industry. The president of Coldiretti Modena Luca Borsari among the protagonists of the great deal. (9)

The stable meadows of the Val d'Enza - where the cows based on the Parmigiano Reggiano supply chain graze - are instead forced to a water diet based on the waters of the Po, brought upstream with one of the most energy-intensive pumps of the old continent. The plan of Coldiretti and the politicians it commands is not in fact to build dams tailored to the needs of the populations but rather many, small locks. (10) Which, if anything, will serve to increase debts towards Europe, and to generate seats in new consortium bureaucracies.

5) Provisional conclusions

Before celebrating, it seems reasonable to expect Italy to solve the problems highlighted above. Starting from the National Action Plan (PAN) pesticides whose single draft (2019), however never adopted, is in clear contrast with the Italian Constitution. This and other structural woes have been highlighted in the report 13.12.21 of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights implications of the management and environmentally friendly disposal of hazardous substances and waste. (11)

Citizens and the social partners interested parties have the right to be informed about the legislative projects in progress and to participate in public consultations. The urban planning tools must be re-examined in the light of the reform, as well as the EU strategies, regulations and directives that the Bel Paese still neglects. Not surprisingly, again at the bottom of the ranking Member States for the levels of transposition of directives and the adoption of technical standards in the environmental field.

He green procurement? Towards greater things

Dario Dongo


(1) Regarding the distortions of competition ignored by the Antitrust, a couple of examples above all:

- the production plans of the Consortia for the protection of Italian PDO cheeses (see previous article on Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano)

- AGEA resolution 6.12.20 n. 25 with which Gabriele Papa Pagliardini, its director and partner of the magic circle of Coldiretti, tried to exclude freelancers from the management of dossiers for aid in agriculture (v. article)

(2) European Commission. European governance, White Paper. 12.10.01. COM / 2001/0428 final https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/IT/TXT/?uri=celex%3A52001DC0428#

(3) An example of significant environmental impact, with regard to the prevention of food waste, in the previous article Pre-cooked bread, the edict of the Council of State and the EU rules on food safety. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 10.11.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/pane-precotto-l-editto-del-consiglio-di-stato-e-le-regole-ue-sulla-sicurezza-alimentare

(4) Dario Dongo. Food waste, our battle over fresh milk. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 24.7.19, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/sprechi-alimentari-la-nostra-battaglia-sul-latte-fresco 

(5) Dario Dongo. Transparency and governance, what is lacking in ministerial works and government acts. DO (Food and Agriculture Organization). 4.2.17, https://www.foodagriculturerequirements.com/approfondimenti_1/trasparenza-e-governance-ciò-che-manca-a-lavori-ministeriali-e-atti-di-governo

(6) Dario Dongo. National action plan for pesticides, sustainable agriculture and PNRR. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 4.2.22, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/sicurezza/piano-di-azione-nazionale-pesticidi-agricoltura-sostenibile-e-pnrr-vanghepulite

(7) The most ecological energy production, in the logic of the circular economy, among other things, is probably that of biodigesters. Which must be fed with agricultural activities and maintenance of green and rural areas, useful for food sovereignty and for the prevention of hydrogeological risks. But the priority of the interests at stake seems to have nothing to do with logic and ecology

(8) Marta Strinati, Dario Dongo. Rain of concrete on the historic Bolognese rice field. #Clean shovels. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 1.7.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/sicurezza/pioggia-di-cemento-sulla-risaia-storica-bolognese-vanghepulite 

(9) Faw Silk factory, the Reggio land is owned by Modena. The Press. 4.4.21, https://www.lapressa.it/articoli/economia/stabilimento-faw-silk-il-terreno-reggiano-di-propriet-modenese

(10) Dario Dongo. The Vetto dam to save the stable meadows of Parmigiano Reggiano. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 24.8.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/progresso/la-diga-di-vetto-per-salvare-i-prati-stabili-del-parmigiano-reggiano 

(11) Dario Dongo. Human rights and pesticides, PFAS, hazardous waste. OHCHR audit in Italy. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 1.1.22, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/diritti-umani-e-pesticidi-pfas-rifiuti-pericolosi-audit-ohchr-in-italia

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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