Many problems have arisen, many problems have to be solved by the government, all of them have become gangrenous after lying around for years waiting for reforms that have never been made. The resignation of a minister is not a dramatic event, a routine occurrence in fact. That of former foreign Minister Ruggiero has been taken advantage of. The appointment of Ruggiero was openly sponsored by Senator Agnelli, with whom neither the unions nor the left-wing parties have, at least apparently, had friendly relations nor seen eye to eye. Their stance in favour of the former minister is therefore rather strange. The Prime Minister, as in other cases, during the interim period, has himself taken on the role of Minister of Foreign Affairs and has declared that changes must be made within the ministry. The Commission headed by Senator Tommasini has convened to continue investigations into the state of the Italian Red Cross. During the session, a hearing was staged with Hon. Maria Pia Garavaglia, President of the Italian Red Cross. Senator Santarello considers it necessary to update the regulations relating to the Italian Red Cross so as to restore the body to its original state of volunteer organisation instead of the Financial Holding it has become. Some of the most significant passages of the session are presented below.
“JOINT COMMISSIONS XI
(Public and private labour) and XII (Social affairs) SUMMARY Committee of
Nine: Law Decree 402/2001: Health personnel C. 2104 Government, approved by
the Senate... COMMITTEE OF NINE Wednesday 19 December 2001 Law Decree 402/2001:
Health personnel C. 2104 Government, approved by the Senate... The Committee
of Nine convened between 2.20 pm and 3 pm and between 8.10 pm and 8.45 pm.
HYGIENE AND HEALTH (12th) Friday 21 December 2001 27th session Chairmanship
TOMASSINI The session began at 9.05 am SUPPLEMENT OF CHAIRMAN’S OFFICE After having ascertained the attendance of the legal number, all the electoral operations were performed for the election of the Vice-Chairman, required following the relinquishment of that appointment by senator Borea. Chairman TOMASSINI declares, on the basis of the ballot results, the election of senator Danzi. ON THE PUBLICITY OF PROCEEDINGS
The CHAIRMAN informs that an application has been made, pursuant to article 33, sub-section 4 of the Regulations, to start up the audio-visual system so as to allow the special form of publicity for the hearing of Hon. Mariapia Garavaglia, President of the Italian Red Cross, on the agenda of today’s session. The Chairman of the Senate, previously interpellated, made known his approval and consequently, in the event of the Commission agreeing, such form of publicity shall be adopted for the remainder of the session.
The Commission approves INFORMATION PROCEDURES Followed by the cognitive investigation on the state of the Italian Red Cross: followed by the hearing of Hon. Mariapia Garavaglia, president of the Italian Red Cross. The cognitive investigation continues, suspended in the session of 20 December 2001.
Senator SANZARELLO remarks that the Italian Red Cross is no longer a body based exclusively on volunteer work, having on the contrary taken on the guise of a financial holding. He maintains it would be best to update regulations relating to the Red Cross in such a way as to restore the body to its original state as a volunteer-oriented organisation.
Sen.Tonini then asks the President of the Red Cross two questions, requesting the expression of a judgement of a political type in relation to the reasons for the unrest existing in some sectors of the organisation and more details on her opinion regarding how exactly to go about reforming the Red Cross. With reference to this latter problem, he auspicates the introduction of a clearer and more precise distinction between the Red Cross sector related to defence, the field of valorisation of professional skills and finally that relating to volunteer work.
Hon. GARAVAGLIA points out that the situation of unrest to which senator TONINI referred already existed before she joined the organisation. In particular, she points out that a situation of widespread illegality existed that she has tried to remedy, without any punitive or moralising aims, but with the sole intent of valorising the Italian Red Cross. She also refers to the existence of problems relating to failure to distinguish between administrative management and the political sphere, further auspicating stronger and more determined valorisation of volunteer work. She also provides a picture of the organisation’s budget.
The floor is taken by senator BAIO DOSSI, who thanks Hon. Garavaglia for the information provided which has furnished a more complete picture of issues relating to the Italian Red Cross, to which everyone has a strong ideal attachment. She asks for further details of the organisation’s bookkeeping situation. She then addresses another question to the president of the Red Cross in order to learn the reasons that have prompted her to organise elections of the peripheral organs of the organisation, during the carrying out of the cognitive investigation by the Health Commission of the Senate.
Finally she asks for more details on the volunteer nature of the elective appointments within the Red Cross, pointing out that the question is only aimed at eliminating any possible doubt in this sense, without any other intent.
Hon. GARAVAGLIA expresses satisfaction above all with respect to the last question put by senator Baio Dossi which provides her with a chance to explain that all the elective appointments within the Italian Red Cross are non-remunerative, the holder being entitled only to the refund of expenses incurred during performance of his/her duties. She points out that the special Commissioner - unlike the elective organs, including the general president of the organisation - receives a salary, the post being considered as an executive position. She then considers it a good idea to stress that the carrying out of her duties as special Commissioner is in no way in contrast with her subsequently having occupied the role of general president of the organisation, as the State legal advisory office has emphasised in a specific opinion letter, and as is also indicated by the rejection of a special appeal to the Head of State, sent at the time of her election. With reference to the holding of elections of the peripheral organs of the Italian Red Cross, she underlines that this decision was necessary in order to ensure the continuity of management functions. With reference to the explanations requested with respect to the bookkeeping situation of the organisation, she declares that the Minister of health carried out a special inspection showing that, despite the management difficulties, no situation of illegality exists within the Italian Red Cross.
Senator PASOLINO emphasises first of all that the spirit with which the health Commission operates has always been a serene one, both with respect to the nature of the issues regarding health and to the demeanour of the political balance always maintained by president Tomassini. Having said as much, he expresses the hope, without any prejudice or polemic intent, that the electoral process currently under way within the Italian Red Cross be suspended until the end of the cognitive investigations being carried out by the health Commission, in deference to the principle of respect of the prerogatives of Parliament. “ Naturally, we shall record all the developments which are bound to follow.