Emilia-Romagna Region in the EU decision-making process: sources and procedures

Sources of regional law are:

-         The Statute of the Region, approved after the 2001 Constitutional reform with Regional Law no. 13 dated March 31, 2005, describes the roles of the Assembly and the Regional Government and, in particular, art. 12 is dedicated to the participation of the Region to the law-making process and to the implementation of EU measures;

-         The Rules of procedure of the Legislative Assembly, where art. 38 regulates the following procedures: the implementation of the Annual European session of the Legislative Assembly, the participation to the “ascending” phase and the approval of the regional European law;

-         The Regional Law no. 16/2008, modified in 2018 with Regional Law no. 6 in order to implement both the Lisbon Treaty and the subsequent provisions established by the national law no. 234/2012 enhancing the role of the Regions in the European policy-making process.

Since 2005, the Legislative Assembly of Emilia-Romagna has had a very active role in dealing with European topics as it took part in the pilot phase of “Subsidiary Network”, a Committee of Regions project officially launched in April 2007.

As a partner of this network, the Legislative Assembly experienced procedures relevant to European decision-making process and developed a mechanism to participate to the European processes of legislation building, adoption and implementation of EU rules  called “European Session”. This mechanism is regulated by the Regional Law no. 16/2008 and is currently in use.

Preliminary activities

The European Session is characterized by a close cooperation between the Regional Government and the Legislative Assembly both at political and at technical level and has its focal point in a plenary European Session of the Legislative Assembly to be held every year by March 31st.

The documents necessary to start the process of the European Session are:

-       the Annual work programme of the European Commission transmitted to Legislative Assembly and Regional Government by the “system of Conferences” (Conference of Presidents of Legislative Assemblies and Conference of the Regions and autonomous provinces respectively);

-       the Annual explanatory report (“Rapporto conoscitivo”) drawn up by the Regional Government and sent to the Legislative Assembly within February. This document is intended to inform the Legislative Assembly about the European initiatives of interest to the  Regional Government (“ascending phase”) and the compliance of the regional law system to the European law (“descending phase”). It also contains information about eventual infringement proceedings attributed to Emilia-Romagna Region but charged to the State and the annual reporting on the implementation of the Regional Operations Plans about the structural funds.

These documents are referred to Committees for political analysis: the first Committee, being in charge of the European affairs, acts in a reporting capacity, whereas the other Committees act in a consultative capacity to express their own opinion of competence.

As soon as the first Commission receives the European Commission Annual work programme, it has the duty to call the Hearing of the regional stakeholders in order to present it and collect their suggestions and advices that will be considered by the Committees in their political analysis.

Within 24 days from the referral, every Committee gives its opinion on the Annual Work Programme and within 40 days the First Committee meets in European Session in order to draft a Report, completed with Committee acts and eventual minority reports, and prepare a Resolution that will be considered and approved by the Assembly during the plenary European Session to be summoned yearly by 31st march.


Emilia-Romagna Region participation to European law-making process, through numbers updated to 2019:

11 European Sessions

63 Resolutions relevant to European initiatives and legislative draft acts

9 Resolutions relevant to COR and European Commission consultations

5 European regional laws

Bibliography and web-references

Baschiera M., Introduction to the Italian Legal System. The Allocation of Normative Powers: Issues in Law Finding, in “International journal of legal information” Volume 34, Issue 2 (2006) Summer 2006

Groppi T. and Scattone N., Italy: The Subsidiarity Principle, in “International Journal of Constitutional Law” Vol. 4, Issue 1, pp. 131-137, January 2006

Ceffa C. B., The European integration project and the problem of democratic legitimacy in the European legislative decision-making process: the role of European regional parliaments and the case study of Italian Lombardy Region, in “Federalismi.it, Rivista di diritto pubblico italiano, comparato, europeo”, April 2019

Vara Arribas G. and Bourdin D., What Does the Lisbon Treaty Change Regarding Subsidiarity within the EU Institutional Framework?, in EIPAScope, 2012 (2) ISSN 1025-6253, pp. 13-17

Fasone C., Towards New Procedures between State and Regional Legislatures in Italy, Exploiting the Tool of the Early Warning Mechanism, in Perspectives on Federalism, Vol. 5, issue 2, 2013




Procedures for the Plenary European session of the legislative Assembly

The Resolution, approved and voted during the plenary European Session, represents the official position of the Emilia-Romagna Region and is sent to National Government and Parliament as well as to the Conference system, according to national law no. 234/2012.

As a policy-setting document, the Resolution is addressed to the Regional Government for the effective participation of the Region to European policy-making process and for the adoption and implementation of European rules.

During the plenary European Session, the Regional government may also raise the question of the European Regional Bill for the adaptation of the regional laws to the European rules. It shall include the positions expressed by the Assembly during the previous European Session and shall be explained to the regional stakeholder in ad hoc Hearing called by the first Committee. It should be said that the European Regional Bill is not a necessary act, because European rules may also be implemented and applied by regional sector laws or other administrative acts too.

The European session follow-up

Procedures for the “ascending phase”

The mechanism of coordination between the national and regional level is laid down in the Law no. 234/2012 regulating the disclosure obligation of the Italian Government towards the Regions about new acts and initiatives announced by the European Commission. During the year the Region monitors this information flow and, on initiatives it finds interesting, expresses its observations that are sent to Government, Parliamentary Chambers and Conference System within 30 days in order to provide its contribution in defining the Italian position.

In particular, as for European draft legislative acts, the government has to provide the Regions with a qualified and preventive information consisting in reports containing essential details for both the political-legal analysis and the subsidiarity scrutiny (for example: the respect of the conferral, subsidiary and proportionality principles; a comprehensive evaluation of the act including its financial and juridical impacts).

The observations are usually expressed by the Legislative Assembly (upon preliminary study activities carried out by the relevant regional departments) through a resolution approved by the first Committee. The Regional Government may also present some observations, but always in a very close collaboration with the Legislative Assembly. Indeed, the Regional Government can ask the first Committee for an opinion or send its observations in advance.

As far as subsidiary scrutiny is concerned, this is executed by the Legislative Assembly and approved with a Resolution of the first Committee which is sent to Parliamentary Chambers in due time for the discussion, as stated in Protocol no. 2 annexed to the Treaty of Lisbon (Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

Procedures for the “descending phase”

When transposing the European law, the guiding principle is not to cause implementation problem by imposing additional requirements, i.e. over-regulation should be avoided.

The descending mechanisms, aimed to upgrade the regional law system to the European rules, are:

  • Regional European law presented by the Regional Government,
  • sector regional laws,
  • other implementing acts.

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