Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy
via S Vitale 7 VERONA
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PRESS RELEASE – NEWS DESKS
LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP DAN ROGERSON TELLS WILLIAM HAGUE TO GET TOUGH ON EUROPE and CALLS FOR A DEBATE IN THE HOUSE of COMMONS.
On the Berlusconi government’s recent denial of legal rights of British citizens in Italy Dan Rogerson MP wrote to William Hague saying –
“In any other member state of the EU this would not be the case, and should not be tolerated by this Coalition Government”
In a letter dated 9 February 2011 Liberal Democrat MP for North Cornwall Dan Rogerson wrote to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague urging a debate in the House of Commons to “demonstrate that the Government takes Italy’s flouting of EU regulations, and the threat to the equality of British citizens in Italy, extremely seriously.” (letter attached)
BACKGROUND: In a speech to the European Parliament (see link to video http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=2uCLLx_GCXA&feature=related ) on 25 January 2011 David Petrie, chair of ALLSI – the Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy – told how a Berlusconi law which came into force on 29 January 2011 “extinguishes” pending law suits of EU citizens. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled a record six times in favour of foreign lecturers “lettori” in Italian universities finding illegitimate discrimination on the grounds of nationality with regard to access to jobs, increments for years of service and equal pay and pensions. The principles of EU law are ruled upon by the Luxembourg based ECJ – while the member states are tasked with implementation. Faced with huge bills for arrears on wages to the lettori the Berlusconi government in Article 26 of law 240 of 2010 re-interprets the judgments of the ECJ to the detriment of the lettori and blocks them from having their claims adjudicated by an independent magistrate, a fundamental aspect of the rule of law.
The lecturers – the largest group being British – have taken their complaint to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office receiving support from Europe Minister David Lidington and his predecessor Chris Bryant.
Mr Rogerson is one of over 40 MPs who signed motions for Early Morning Debate proposed by Mark Lazarowicz MP and Valerie Vaz MP in the House of Commons expressing their grave concern.
Mr Rogerson (http://www.danrogerson.org/) wrote to ALLSI chair David Petrie saying “There would be outrage if we made such a law in the United Kingdom, and there should be similar outrage here”.
David Petrie said “Mr Rogerson has understood the wider significance of the complaint” recently the UK Parliament was aghast at interference in its sovereignty from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, concerning prisoners having the right to vote – and the UK being faced with costly compensation claims. Our Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke, told the press this weekend ‘I do not contemplate either government or Parliament suddenly deciding it’s not bound by the rule of law… you can’t do it’.
Italy has just done it. Its legislation strikes at the core of the European project – if Berlusconi can cock a snook at the ECJ – legislating against its decisions, sweeping away core principles of justice going back to Roman law – then other member states will get the message and they too will cherry pick on which regulations to obey and which regulations to flout. It would be the end of the rule of law as Mr Clarke rightly suggests – but only if we remain in Europe. Those politicians, in UKIP and other parties, who would take the United Kingdom out the EU, have the merit of being unambiguous. Those in favour of maintaining the rule of law inside the EU framework need to show us, unambiguously that it can be done.
Verona, 15 February 2011
ATTACHED – Letter Dan Rogerson to William Hague ROGERSON HAGUE059
NOTE to NEWS EDITORS – the European Voice Editorial of 3 February 2011 – highlights this case in the penultimate paragraph, case recently reported on by the PA, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph.
SEE LINKS to RECENT ARTICLES
The Independent Anger at Italy foreign staff rights
David Petrie – speech to the European Parliament, 25 January 2011 https://davidpetrie.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/berlusconi-government-goes-where-romans-would-never-dare/
ALSO AVAILABLE – copy of Article 26 of Italian law 240 of 2010 with English translation & analysis Professor Avv. Lorenzo Picotti’s letter to the European Commission
CONTACTS DAVID PETRIE tel +39 347 4297324