2007/2172(IMM)

Request for defence of the parliamentary immunity of Renato Brunetta

Procedure completed

2007/2172(IMM) Request for defence of the parliamentary immunity of Renato Brunetta
RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead JURI SAKALAS Aloyzas (PSE)
Lead committee dossier: JURI/6/51976
Legal Basis RoP 006
Subjects
Links

Activites

  • 2007/11/29 Text adopted by Parliament, single reading
    • T6-0554/2007 summary
    • Results of vote in Parliament
  • 2007/11/29 Commission response to text adopted in plenary
  • 2007/11/21 Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • 2007/11/21 Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • 2007/11/19 Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
  • 2007/10/19 Committee draft report
    • PE396.568
  • 2007/01/31 Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading

Documents

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

2012-02-09
activities added
  • date
    2007-01-31
    body
    EP
    type
    Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
    committees
    • body
      EP
      responsible
      True
      committee
      JURI
      date
      2007-02-26
      committee_full
      Legal Affairs
      rapporteur
      • group
        PSE
        name
        SAKALAS Aloyzas
  • date
    2007-10-19
    docs
    • type
      Committee draft report
      title
      PE396.568
    body
    EP
    type
    Committee draft report
  • date
    2007-11-19
    text
    • The Committee on Legal Affairs unanimously adopted the report by Aloyzas SAKALAS (PES, LT) on the on the request for defence of the immunity and privileges of Renato BRUNETTA (EPP-ED, IT).

      Facts: at the sitting of 31 January 2007, the President of Parliament announced that he had received a request for the defence of the parliamentary immunity of Renato Brunetta by letter of 18 January 2007, which was forwarded to the Committee on Legal Affairs. The request relates to the civil proceedings brought by Hera S.p.A. against Mr Brunetta, along with other defendants, and currently pending before the District Court of Milan. Hera S.p.A. is an Italian holding company operating in the field of public utilities in the Emilia-Romagna region. It is a public-private company whose 59% of shares is controlled by a group of local municipalities and the remaining 41% belongs to a group of (public) bank foundations and cooperative firms. In 2006, Hera S.p.A summoned Renato Brunetta and other defendants to appear before the Cles section of the Trento District Court, so that the latter might declare them jointly liable for the material published in a book forming part of the "I documenti di Panorama" series, entitled 'Red Capitalism - Investigating The Cooperatives, From Shares To Speculation'.

      That book, together with FREE (Foundation for Research on European Economy), was allegedly defamatory of Hera, which asked the court to order to the defendants, jointly, to compensate for all the material and moral damage caused.

      In its writ of summons, Hera gave the following extracts of the abovementioned book, taken

      from the introduction written by Mr Brunetta, as examples of defamatory statements: 'On the basis of these findings, we shall address the reasons which have led to important sectors of the cooperative movement with links to the Left Democrats becoming implemental in the emergence of 'red capitalism', the degeneration of the cooperative economy into a partisan movement. In a word, a monster'; 'Red capitalism' is part of FREE's efforts to denounce the "red" cooperatives' "hidden member" technique and restore the original rules and raison d'être of the cooperative movement'; 'FREE's "Red capitalism" shows that competition rules have been altered and a political party has taken control of the cooperatives as a "hidden member"'.

      Defending Parliamentary immunity: Article 9 of the "Protocol on privileges and immunities" provides that Members of the European Parliament have absolute immunity from legal proceedings "in respect of opinions expressed in the performance of their duties".

      As a matter of fact, in his statements reported by the writ of summons filed by Hera S.p.A., Mr Brunetta merely commented on facts in the public domain which had a European political dimension as they were directly linked to Unipol's bid to take over the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) and the European Commission was carrying out the checks required under Community law with regard to the legality of that takeover bid.

      Furthermore, as a Member of the European Parliament and full professor of Economics, Mr Brunetta only stressed the market failure resulting from to the links existing between public-private companies, cooperatives and political parties which create a de facto monopoly and may therefore jeopardise the functioning of the internal market as far as consumers' protection

      and fair competition are concerned.

      The case of Hera S.p.A. was just a paradigmatic example of how this economic paradox exists and works.

      In this context, defining such a situation as an "economic monster" is not at all defamatory, as the word "monster" comes from the Latin expression "monstrum" which only means "extraordinary", "something against nature". The message that Mr Brunetta intended to give to his readers was nothing more than the description, from a merely economic point of view, of the existing anomalies of the Italian market, which seem to prevent Italy from fully attaining the objectives of the internal market.

      In describing and criticising the deviations of the cooperatives' system, he was carrying out his duty as a Member of Parliament in expressing his opinion on a matter of public interest to his constituents.

      In short, Mr Brunetta was simply doing his job as a Member of Parliament. To seek to gag  Members of Parliament from expressing their opinions on matters of legitimate public interest and concern by bringing legal proceedings is unacceptable in a democratic society and  manifestly in breach of Article 9 of the Protocol, which is intended to protect Members' freedom of expression in the performance of their duties in the interests of Parliament as an Institution.

      Conclusion: on the basis of the above considerations, the Committee on Legal Affairs, having examined the reasons for and against defending immunity, recommends that the immunity of Mr Renato Brunetta be defended.

    body
    EP
    committees
    • body
      EP
      responsible
      True
      committee
      JURI
      date
      2007-02-26
      committee_full
      Legal Affairs
      rapporteur
      • group
        PSE
        name
        SAKALAS Aloyzas
    type
    Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
  • date
    2007-11-21
    docs
    • url
      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2007-0449&language=EN
      type
      Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
      title
      A6-0449/2007
    body
    type
    Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date
    2007-11-21
    docs
    • url
      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2007-0449&language=EN
      type
      Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
      title
      A6-0449/2007
    body
    EP
    type
    Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date
    2007-11-29
    docs
    body
    EP
    type
    Text adopted by Parliament, single reading
  • date
    2007-11-29
    docs
    • url
      http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/spdoc.do?i=14360&j=0&l=en
      type
      Commission response to text adopted in plenary
      title
      SP(2007)6527
    body
    EC
    commission
      type
      Commission response to text adopted in plenary
    committees added
    • body
      EP
      responsible
      True
      committee
      JURI
      date
      2007-02-26
      committee_full
      Legal Affairs
      rapporteur
      • group
        PSE
        name
        SAKALAS Aloyzas
    links added
    other added
      procedure added
      dossier_of_the_committee
      JURI/6/51976
      reference
      2007/2172(IMM)
      title
      Request for defence of the parliamentary immunity of Renato Brunetta
      legal_basis
      • Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament EP 006
      stage_reached
      Procedure completed
      subtype
      Waiver of immunity
      type
      IMM - Members' immunity
      subject
      • 8.40.01.03 Members' immunity

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