EUROMIL Press Release – Situation of Military Personnel in Italy

EUROMIL Press Release

Situation of Military Personnel in Italy

The European Organisation of Military Associations (EUROMIL) is an umbrella organisation composed of 40 military associations and trade unions from 25 countries. It is the main Europe-wide forum for cooperation among professional military associations on issues of common concern. EUROMIL strives to secure and advance the human rights, fundamental freedoms and socio-professional interests of military personnel of all ranks in Europe and promotes the concept of “Citizen in Uniform”. As such, a soldier is entitled to the same rights and obligations as any other citizen. EUROMIL particularly calls for recognition of the right of servicemen and -women to form and join trade unions and independent associations and for their inclusion in a regular social dialogue by the authorities.

Since many years, EUROMIL has been following with attention the situation regarding the right of association and representation of military personnel in Italy. Italy is one of the European countries that still deny the right of association to servicemen and -women. Already in 2009, EUROMIL was invited for a presentation in the Italian Senate on the occasion of the launch of a bill on representation rights for military personnel. The bill was introduced by Senator Roberta Pinotti (Partito Democratico), the current Italian Minister of Defence.

Last year, on 17 July 2014, EUROMIL was invited by the Italian Parliament for a hearing on the right of association of military personnel in Europe. This hearing was organised by the Defense Committee, after three bills concerning the system of military representation and the right of association for military personnel had submitted. Having three bills on the table, the Defence Committee decided to collect more information on this issue.

After more than a year, no result was achieved and Italian military personnel are still denied this basic fundamental right which is the right to form and join trade unions or military associations to defend their social rights and working conditions.

Therefore, EUROMIL reminds the Italian government of the article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights which stipulates that “everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests”. EUROMIL also recalls the Recommendation CM/Rec (2010)4 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on “Human rights of members of the armed forces” which stipulates, in paragraph 53, that “no restrictions should be placed on the exercise of the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association other than those that are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interest of national security or public safety,….”.

Having this in mind, EUROMIL calls on the Italian government and parliament to regulate and introduce, as soon as possible, the right of association for military personnel. Additionally, and in relation to the right of association, a social dialogue between representatives of military personnel and the military and political leadership should also be established. Italy should not do this because “Europe wants so”, but because Italy agreed with the international legislation. A well-regulated social dialogue and representation is beneficial for both the military personnel and the armed forces.

Last but not least, EUROMIL calls on the Italian government to initiate a dialogue on these issues with its armed forces personnel rather than making use of repressive measures against those who represent military personnel to prevent them from entering into any kind of debate or action.

By Emmanuel Jacob, President of EUROMIL
Brussels, 7 October 2015

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