Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Italy and the ratification of the European Constitution

On 25 January, the lower chamber of the Italian Parliament (Camera), has voted for the ratification of the European Constitution. An overwhelming majority of the Camera approved the Constitution, with a final result of 436 to 28 (with 5 abstentions). For the Constitution to be ratified, we'll have to wait for the vote at the higher chamber (Senato).
From right to left, there is a substantive agreement on the ratification of the Constitution. The 28 nos come from Lega Nord (The secessionist party of Norther Italy), that stated that the Constitution has "no soul and no popular legitimation." Berlusconi, the prime minister, declared that Italy's position will help other countries that will hold a referendum.
The vote at the Senate is a pure formality. We can safely assume that the European Constitution will soon be ratified by Italy. Therefore, with the vote at the Camera, Italy reaffirms its consistent pro-European stance. Throughout the all process of elaboration, approval, signature, and ratification, Italy has tried to play a leading role. The work of the Convention for the European Constitution started under the Italian Presidency. Moreover, on 29 October 2004, the European Constitution was signed at the Campidoglio, 47 years after the historical signature of the ECSC Treaty. Italy hopes to give a symbolic inauguration of the ratification processes, being the first great historical member state to ratify the European Constitution.

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