The “unbearable lightness” of unity: relations between State and Regions during the health emergency

It is undeniable that the Covid-19 health emergency has affected relations between State and Regions. At the present stage the tensions linked to the health emergency have in fact brought to light a problem that has never been fully resolved. We refer to the absence within the parliamentary body of the “voices” of the various territorial parts of the Italian State, in particular that of the Regions; and to the fact that such absence involves the risk of aggravating already existing fractures. Today the problematic nature of the relationship between parliamentary representation and territorial pluralism is particularly evident, as well as the need to identify the most suitable way to reach shared choices between the state and regional level of competence. The idea of “unity” in art. 5 of the Italian Constitution should in fact involve the grafting of territorial pluralism in the central decision-making bodies and not be the result of the central political orientation alone.

The Italian Regions during the pandemic: the effects of an exceptional use of the regulatory power

The spread of the COVID-19 has made it necessary to adopt measures of exceptional nature, by the implementation of an emergency regulatory framework deemed as the most effective. In this scenario, we have witnessed a leading role of the Italian Regions, which have issued an unprecedented number of ordinances. This attitude on the part of the Regions not only has emptied of meaning the use of this exceptional instrument, but it has also disoriented the citizens. Therefore, by analyzing the State legislation on the definition of the regional power for the management of the pandemic, it will be highlighted the tensions between center and periphery. Finally, it will be observed that this issue has remained under the administrative jurisdiction for nearly all the pandemic period. However, recently the Constitutional Court ruled on the case of the Aosta Valley’s law against national restrictions dealing with the health emergency, resolving this dispute between State and Regions.

The Italian emergency legislation and its impact on the civil liberties in the recent case-law

Some doubts have been expressed in the Italian academic debate about the normative solutions implemented to face the pandemic emergency. Indeed, this discussion has highlighted the lack of a specific constitutional regulation of the State of exception, apart from that concerning the status of war. At the same time, several criticisms have been raised with regard to the legislative choice to delegate the government to adopt most of the measures involving restrictions on the citizens’ civil liberties. In a first phase of the emergency, it seems that this issue was implicitly postponed, since the public authorities were involved in ensuring the most effective response to the extraordinary situation. Afterwards, some significant decisions made by ordinary and administrative judges have ruled the governmental regulations as illegal or even unconstitutional under several profiles. A preliminary exploration of this case-law, as well as a forecast of its impact, will be thus realized.

The fragmentation of the right to health in the pandemic crisis: the case of patients with rare diseases

The right to health has assumed a crucial role in guiding the strategies adopted to fight the pandemic, causing at the same time delicate balancing problems with other fundamental rights, which have often found themselves withdrawing in order to guarantee the priority protection of health. Even more, the need to offer care to Covid patients has led to a reduction in care services dedicated to other patients, whose possibilities of access to the health system have greatly decreased, exacerbating their already fragile conditions. This is the case, for example, of patients with rare diseases, who, precisely because of the particular conditions of their pathologies, represent a minority within the same healthcare landscape, only recently subject of adequate regulatory attention. As will be discussed in the panel, the difficulties and solutions addressed in this sector can offer important insights for balancing the rights involved and for future developments of health systems.

The social rights of a “forgotten” ethnic minority during the COVID-19 crisis: emerging challenges for the integration of Roma in Italy

The pandemic has led to an aggravation of well-known issues related to the integration process of disadvantaged ethnic minorities. In particular, the health emergency shows a warning situation about the guarantee of some social rights of Roma, such as the access to acceptable housing standards, distance learning and welfare services. In fact, despite Roma being historically located on the Italian territory, they still belong to one of the most marginalized communities in the country, also because of a gap in the legislation on the subject. Therefore, it will be examined whether the measures taken by the State in favor of vulnerable groups, in order to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19, and the responses by certain local bodies have taken sufficiently into account the conditions of Roma or not. Potential weaknesses of these remedies will be likewise explored in the context of the Strategic Framework 2020-2030 set by the European Commission for future national policies of inclusion.

COVID-19 pandemic and detention institutions in Italy: reflecting on short-term crisis management and its consequences on constitutional rights of prisoners

As covid-19 rips through the European countries, the fragile Italian penitentiary system reveals its deepest weaknesses. Indeed, although ensuring social distancing and maintaining adequate sanitary conditions in detention has been a worldwide major challenge, Italy’s situation has proved arguably more dramatic. National penal institutions have always struggled with endemic overcrowding issues, with a rate of occupancy still averaging 119,4% in 2020. In this precarious scenario, severe precautionary measures have been promptly undertaken to guarantee prisoners’ fundamental right to health care. Taking the cue from this emergency response framework, it will be examined the effectiveness and the proportionality of these normative solutions. Also, the long-term impact of this exceptional approach will be highlighted, by considering if it may represent a valuable starting point to overcome structural inefficiencies and improve constitutional guarantees of prison inmates.