Cesare Pinelli

Sui "livelli essenziali delle prestazioni concernenti i diritti civili e sociali" (art. 117, co. 2, lett. m, Cost.)

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The author examines the problems posed by the exclusive assignment to national legislation of the "determination of essential levels of performance concerning civil and social rights that must be guaranteed throughout the national territory" (Art. 117, Par. 2.m. of the Constitution). In particular, he tackles two sets of problems. The first regards the object and, therefore, the nature of the attribution. As the Constitutional Court has declared, it does not refer to a subject matter in a strict sense, but rather to "a competence of the national legislator suitable for embracing all matters, with respect to which the same legislator must be able to provide the necessary norms for guaranteeing to all, throughout the national territory, the enjoyment of guaranteed standards, as an essential ingredient of such rights, without regional legislation being able to limit or condition them." However, other reserved powers exclusive to national legislation likewise do not lend themselves to a rigid qualification in terms of subject matter. At the very least these include in the list contained in Par. 2 the "safeguarding of competition," the "fundamental functions of Municipalities, Provinces and Metropolitan Areas," the "co-ordination of statistical information and informatics regarding the data of the national, regional and local administration," and the "safeguarding of the environment, of the ecosystem and of cultural assets" (Art. 117, Par. 2.e., p., r. and s., respectively). The investigation into the nature of the attribution reserved to the State therefore ought to be extended to include such cases, in order to ascertain the common consequences on the new division of legislative power. The second set of problems hinges on the meaning to be ascribed to the reference to the "determination of the essential levels of performance" and to the "civil and social rights that must be guaranteed throughout the national territory." What intentions does it reveal? What links does it authorise with the principles contained in Part I of the Constitution? And what function can be conferred on it within the new framework of Title V? Questions so general in nature sufficiently demonstrate the peculiarity of the attribution with respect to any other exclusively assigned to national legislation.

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