When will the relaunch come? Law decrees between “phantom” rules and “unless agreed” approvals

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Green light with interlocutory formulas and excessive interval between adoption in CDM and publication in “Gazzetta” have become a critical feature of many urgent measures

by Vittorio Nuti

Phase2, when Dpcm and decrees collide with regional ordinances

Green light with interlocutory formulas and excessive interval between adoption in CDM and publication in “Gazzetta” have become a critical feature of many urgent measures

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Started in mid-March, then in the first phase of the epidemic, the “push and pull” between government and majority to finalize the highly anticipated decree law 34/2020 “Relaunch” lasted two very long months. To the point of making three different “labels” necessary: April decree, then May decree, and finally the Revival decree. The long-awaited approval of the “Urgent measures on health, support for work and the economy, as well as social policies, connected to the epidemiological emergency from COVID-19”, dates back to the Council of Ministers of 13 May, with the notorious formula “Unless understood.”

Negotiations behind the scenes

In practice, only the guidelines of the 266 55 billion euro articles of the measure were launched. And a further behind-the-scenes negotiation has opened between the government parties on details and coverage. This phase, beyond the proclamations of the majority, ended almost a week later, with the publication in the “Official Gazette” on May 19th. Six days late which infuriated citizens and businesses, awaiting the final text after the fair of the drafts anticipated by the newspapers. Six days of emptiness which are however far from new. On the contrary: it can be said that it went well: several times in the past the gap has exceeded ten days, even reaching a full month. With all due respect to Article 77 of our Constitution. Which reads: “When, in extraordinary cases of necessity and urgency, the Government adopts, under its responsibility, provisional measures by force of the law, it must present the same day for conversion to the Chambers”, after transmission to the Presidency of the Republic for countersignature and publication in the “Official Gazette”.

Double approval

In recent years, the increasingly frequent peaks of delay between the approval of decrees in the Council of Ministers and their effective publication in the “OJ” have led to talk of “Ghost decrees”, highlighting a phenomenon that reflects the progressive barbarization of our legislative practice. Take for example the XVIII legislature, which began on March 23, 2018. To hold the record of the time difference between the green light of the CDM and official publication goes to Legislative Decree 16/2020 “Olympics”, with 30 days (February 13-March 13). The controversial Legislative Decree 32/2019 “Unblock construction sites” follows: 28 days, those who pass between 20 March and 18 April. In addition to boasting this record, the “Sbloccacantieri” is also part of the restricted club of law decrees that landed in the “Gazzetta” after a double approval in the CDM (another legal anomaly) due to the difficulty in finding the political framework on the contents. In this specific case, the first go-ahead “except for agreements” on March 20 and the second “definitive” ok on April 18.

Above the 20 days of time difference we find the Dl 101/2020 “Corporate crisis” (27 days, 6 August-3 September); the Decree 34/2019 “Growth” (26 days, 4-30 April, with the formula “unless otherwise understood” and double approval); Legislative Decree 27/2019 “Relaunch of agricultural sectors in crisis” (22 days, 7-29 March and double approval); and Legislative Decree 126/2019 “School hiring” (20 days, 10-30 October).

Generalized delays

Between 10 and 20 days the list of decrees with a super difficult gestation includes Decree Law 3/2020 “Tax wedge” (17 days, 23 January-5 February); Legislative Decree 109/2018 “Genoa” (15 days, 13-28 September, other approval “unless otherwise understood”); Legislative Decree 35/2019 “Health” (12 days, April 18-May 2); Legislative Decree 87/2018 “Dignity” (12 days, 2-13 July and “unless otherwise understood”); Legislative Decree 124/2019 “Tax decree 2020” (11 days, 15-26 October, approved “except for agreements” as well as the bill on the budget law 2020 passed in the same CDM); Legislative Decree 4/2019 “Citizenship Income” (11 days, 18-28 January); Dl 86/2018 “Reorganization of ministries” (11 days, 2-12 July).



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