Active citizens collaborating with public authorities for taking care of the commons: a perspective from Italian cities

What should the role of public authorities be in relation to bottom-up initiatives of individuals willing to do something for their community? The contribution will illustrate the Italian model of “Shared Administration of urban commons” (introduced in 2014 in Bologna) where public authorities are supporting active citizens on the basis of the principle of horizontal subsidiarity (art.118, IV Italian Constitution). Until now the model has widespread in more than 240 municipalities (from metropolitan cities to small villages) through a prototype of Regulation and a new source of public law named “Collaboration Pact” between active citizens and public authorities – an agreement on actions of care of urban commons. Hundreds of thousands of people have been empowered by this model. From individuals’ freedom to take care of the commons we can foresee a new form of democracy based on subsidiarity, solidarity, participation in the Italian cities: will it be the case also for other EU cities?

The Old-Fashioned (or Out of Fashion) Prohibition on the Imperative Mandate

The political agenda of those aiming at abolishing the prohibition on the imperative mandate postulates the beneficial impact of such abolition on five ever-lasting problems affecting representative politics: the alternation to power; the special morality and intellect of deputies; the ambiguity of election as a mixed institution; the power of parliaments to tackle and sort out the questions people care for; the hiatus between the government of the people and the wishes of the electorate.
Populist movements claim the imperative mandate stands out as the ultimate remedy to the abuses and alterations in the crisis of representatation. But has the imperative mandate the actual power to amend the current disfunctions? Is it truly the right call to overcome the issues arisen and mend the broken political connection between constituents and deputies?

COVID-19 and Fundamental Rights: Reshaping the Role of the Right to Privacy

The right to privacy is a fundamental right, recognized by many countries in their Constitutions. However, in the past year, technologies such as surveillance systems and collection of personal data had notable implications for this right and a significant impact on citizens’ lives. In my presentation, it will be discussed how – after the introduction of COVID-19 into our global framework – the relevance and importance of privacy are being debated and reshaped in many democratic countries.

Digital Barbarians. Who Helps the Watchmen?

We are witnessing new declinations of the relationship between authority and freedom: new authorities are neither state nor public, and public powers struggle in their awkward attempt to regulate them.
The regulation of digital platforms runs the risk of being late, weak, ineffective, useless, harmful.
Do we need regulation? Do citizens need protection? Do they feel the need for protection?

Participation by Means of Political Parties at EU Level: State of the Art and Prospects

Pursuant to art. 10.4 TEU, Europarties should facilitate EU citizens’ (indirect) participation in the decision making process, by channeling their preferences into the Institutions of the Union, just as traditional national political forces do. However, as for now, this ambitious project has remained on paper: Europarties are victims of an “original sin”: they have been established, mostly under pressure by political groups in the European Parliament, as federations of domestic political parties. This presentation has the aim of bringing out the reasons behind Europarties’ failure, both at regulation and form of government level, thus understanding whether the upcoming revision of Regulation 1141/2014 could be a concrete opportunity to favour the realization of the objectives set by art. 10.4 TEU or whether, conversely, it will likely result in yet another “cosmetic” exercise, actually hiding the unwillingness to transfer “sovereign” powers to EU-level political forces.