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Form of government and lobbies in UK and UE. A comparative perspective.

di - 21 Febbraio 2013
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Other activities are excluded: (i) activities of legal and other professional advice, when they relate to the exercise of the fundamental right to a fair trial of a client, including the right of the defence in administrative proceedings; (ii) activities of the social partners when they are part of the Social Dialogue. This applies mutatis mutandis to any entity specifically designated in the Treaties to play an institutional role; (iii) Activities in response to direct and individual request from EU institutions or Members of the European Parliament such as ad hoc or regular requests for factual information, data or expertise and/or individualized invitations to attend public hearings or to participate in the workings of consultative committees or in any similar forum. 

4. At the end: the snake model of the Italian regulation
In Italy there is not a systematic regulation of lobbying activities (Lupo, 2006), due likely to historical and political reasons (such as respectively the French influence and the role of political parties as exclusive mediators – cfr. Morlino, 1991). Another reason can be found in a sort of “embarrassment” to admit that “the King is nude” (Frosini, 2000, p. 228) or, in other words, that parties are able no more to represent social interests.
Nonetheless, there is a silent regulation, grovelling as a snake: scattered norms establishing duties, faculties, functions to lobbies ad providing their participation to the decision making process (Petrillo, 2011, pp. 297 ss.).
This is true both regarding Government and Parliament.
The most interesting phase in terms of lobbying is the preliminary examination of bills. In this respect, we can see the Article 79 of the Rules of Procedures (Chamber of Deputies), when states that the Permanent Commissions should verify the necessity of legislative intervention, the coherence with the Constitution and with the EU regulations, the proper specification of the objectives and of the instruments to achieve them. The Permanent Commissions should also analyze the costs and benefits for citizens, enterprises, public administrations and the quality and clearness of the legislative text; for these scopes, during the preliminary examination of bills the Commission establish hearings or ask for documental contributions. The problem of these instruments it is their use often “off record”, which for sure runs against transparency. In addition, hearings are decided by the Presidents of permanent Commissions, without any guaranty for the fair participation of every interest group.
But these examination of bills, with theoretical participation of lobbies, is cancelled by a standard procedure establish by the Government and accepted by the Parliament. In fact the Government can present a maxi-amendments to every bill with the request of the vote of confidence. In this way, the Government prevents any control on the text and on its origin, and makes useless all the preliminary analysis of the bill by the Parliament (including hearings attended by interest groups).
In conclusion, these snake-rules are schizophrenic, because the legislator, that establishes them, denies them at the same time: preliminary examination become useless by maxi-amendments of the Government; impact analysis of regulation (AIR) is only used as a sterile practice, etc. In this contest, lobbies operate in a total obscurity. Corruption could be a natural consequence.
The pre-legislative step of its bill proposals is the result, at ministerial level, of informal consultations with interest groups. Each Minister that presents a bill, has also to submit a report concerning the impact analysis of regulation (AIR). The former consists in the preventive evaluation of the effects of regulation on citizens, enterprises and on the functioning of public administrations, through the comparison of alternative options: for these reasons the involvement of interest groups, should be crucial, because only in this way the Government understand the impact of the proposal bill on the community. Unluckily, both the reports are (almost) always insufficient and lacking of any information, filled in only to accomplish procedural requirements (Celotto, 2004, pp. 56 ss.).
Is the time changed? The Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, in fact, has established an “Unity for Transparency”. As stated by the Minister’s Decree No. 2319 of February 9, 2012, the Unit shall be headed by the Chief Cabinet and is composed of experts who will carry out this task free of charge. Primary task of the Unit is to treat the consultation procedures required by law, the agro-food industry lobbyists during the preparation of draft laws and relations which are under ministerial competence (is this a change for the Italian democracies?- Morlino, 2011).
To this end, lobbyists who wish to participate in these consultations are required to be registered on a public list (“List of people carrying particular interests). The list, like all documents produced by the lobbies, will be available to anyone on the website of the Ministry. In this list the holders of interests shall specify: (i) the data and the business address of the holder or holders of particular interests, and any additional professional activities carried out; (ii) the identity of the employer, or the identification data of the customer; (iv) the interest or interests that are represented; (v) the financial and human resources that you have for the conduct of representation and lobbying activities.

The registered parties may also submit additional proposals, studies, documents, research to the Unit for Transparency in order to represent their legitimate interests. There is the obligation for registered subjects to submit (by July 30 of each year) a summary report of the activity. In case of non-submission of the report, the subject will be deleted and cannot participate in the consultations. The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry report annually to Parliament, as part of a more general report on the implementation of regulatory impact analysis; on the implementation of the above lobbying decree and on the activity of lobbying put in place towards the above mentioned Ministry.

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