The European Commission’s Blind Eye
15 October 2013
ROME - The decision of the European Commission to abstain from holding infringement proceedings against Italy for its controversial Gelmini Law has elicited much outrage from the public.
When the law passed in 2010, it downgraded the status of foreign lecturers in Italian universities from professors to language technicians, cutting the salaries of these academics by as much as 60 percent. The Italian foreign lecturers' union (ALLSI) has continually expressed their disapproval for the law and have reacted by filing a claim with the European Commission.
The legislation passed by the Italian government is in direct contradiction to the Charter of the European Union. The overall purpose of the EU is to establish a union between nations so that every citizen is entitled to the same equal rights, including the right to move and reside freely in any territory. Yet Italy's Gelmini Law violates this agreement.
The Gelmini Law is not just illegal, but also immoral. The law explicitly targets an individual group of people, and in doing so, exhibits a blatant form of discrimination. The shameless legislation has prompted attention across the EU, with figures as prominent as UK Prime Minister David Cameron and France's Minister for French nationals abroad, Sylvain Itté, condemning the law.
Rather than properly executing its duties, the European Commission has overlooked this problem and therefore neglected the welfare of EU citizens. The Commission intends to close the case on grounds that there is a lack of sufficient evidence, even though the ALLSI provided a large number of official documents which supported the claim. Furthermore, the European Court of Justice has already ruled that parts of the Gelmini law are illegal, so it is perplexing to understand why a related body cannot reach a similar conclusion.
It is the European Commission's duty to review and correct legislation that is endangering to European citizens. In order to ensure that a proper course of action is undertaken to rectify the discriminatory situation, a thorough, sensible solution must be reached.
While the ALLSI has already undergone the unreasonable bureaucracy that constitutes Italy's lower courts system, it should not experience such similar processes from the EU. It is the European Commission's responsibility to properly address the claim and to determine a reasonable solution that amends the current situation, recompenses past losses, and initiates protocol to prevent such measures from reoccurring.