European Commission answer to Claude Moraes MEP

On 1.03.10  Claude Moraes MEP tabled this question to the European Commission

EQUAL TREATMENT OF NON-ITALIAN UNIVERSITY LECTURERS IN ITALY

Since 1989, the European Court of Justice has ruled three times that Italy has failed to fulfil its obligations under the provisions of the EC Treaty guaranteeing freedom of movement for workers, by not ensuring the equal treatment of non-Italian university lecturers (lettori). In 2006 the ECJ ruled that new Italian legislation (Law 63/2004) resolved the issue and that Italy was no longer in breach of its treaty obligations. However, in spite of this ruling, I understand that on 14 October 2009, the Commission was presented with evidence from the Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy that out of a sample of 225 lettori from 18 Italian universities, 83% are not receiving equal treatment as interpreted by judgements of the ECJ. Has the Commission taken any action in light of this evidence? Will it consider instigating infringement proceedings against Italy if it is found that discrimination against non-Italian university lecturers persists? If infringement proceedings will not be launched, how will the Commission act to ensure that the principles of free movement of workers and of non-discrimination on the basis of nationality are upheld?

The Commission replied as follows:

P-1457/10EN Answer given by Mr Andor on behalf of the Commission (29.3.2010)

The Commission has been looking at the situation of foreign lecturers in Italy for a long time and has drawn the attention of the Court of Justice of the European Union to a number of cases (1) . It has also been in close contact with the Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy (Associazione Lettori di Lingua Straniera in Italia — ALLSI), with which it has exchanged correspondence on the current situation of former and current lettori and CEL (collaboratori e esperti linguistici) and on the Italian legislation applicable (in particular, Italian Laws Nos 236 of 21 June 1995 and 63 of 5 March 2004 and Ministerial Decree of 8 July 2008). The Commission is also aware of the numerous judicial proceedings pending before the national courts. The information available appears to indicate that the difficulties faced by former and current lettori and CEL are due to local administrative practices that vary from one university to another. The Commission is not in a position, however, to intervene in cases where Italian legislation may have been incorrectly applied, which is a matter for the Member State concerned. Nonetheless, the Commission has asked the Italian authorities for more detailed information with a view to assessing the conformity of Italian legislation and of general administrative practice in Italy with European law applicable in the field of free movement of workers. It will consider whether any action is needed once it has examined all the information available.

________________

(1) Case 33/88 Pilar Allué and Carmel Mary Coonan v Università degli studi di Venezia [1989] ECR 1591; joined cases C-259/91, C-331/91 and C-332/91 Pilar Allué and Carmel Mary Coonan and others v Università degli studi di Venezia and Università degli studi di Parma [1993] ECR I-4309; case C-90/96 David Petrie and Others v Università degli studi di Verona and Camilla Bettoni [1997] ECR I-6527; case C-119/04 Commission of the European Communities v Italian Republic [2006] ECR I-6885; case C-276/07 Nancy Delay v Università degli studi di Firenze, Istituto nazionale della previdenza sociale (INPS) and Repubblica italiana [2008] ECR I-3635.

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3 Responses to European Commission answer to Claude Moraes MEP

  1. linda Armstrong says:

    Looks like the Commission has stonewalled us. By saying it is not the Italian state at fault but the local administrations of individual universities, they are basically copping out. I can’t say that I blame them – our situation has over the years become more and more tangled.
    Kafka couldn’t have thought up anything as contorted as this.
    Dejectedly yours
    Linda Armstrong

  2. David Petrie says:

    The Commission is neither stonewalling us nor are they ‘copping out’. We were seen recently by 4 Commission lawyers, including the head of unit and they were very generous with their time. Certainly the problem is complicted – but the Commission is co-operating with us in our efforts to adduce the neccessary information which might allow them to file a legal case. We all know that the universities and the Italian state are not complying. Legally proving it is a much more onerous task.

  3. anne warren says:

    “The Commission is not in a position, however, to intervene in cases where Italian legislation may have been incorrectly applied, which is a matter for the Member State concerned”

    This seems to be the key statement. If the Commission should decide that further action is needed, and then proceed with it, what will stop them ending up in the same impasse?

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