Franco Frattini (born 14 March 1957 in Rome) is an Italian politician, twice foreign minister of the Berlusconi cabinets (in 2002–2004 and 2008–2011) and once European Commissioner in the first Barroso Commission (2004–2008).
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
8 May 2008 – 16 November 2011
|Prime Minister||Silvio Berlusconi|
|Preceded by||Massimo D'Alema|
|Succeeded by||Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata|
14 November 2002 – 18 November 2004
|Prime Minister||Silvio Berlusconi|
|Preceded by||Silvio Berlusconi (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Gianfranco Fini|
|European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security|
22 November 2004 – 8 May 2008
|President||José Manuel Barroso|
|Preceded by||António Vitorino|
|Succeeded by||Jacques Barrot|
|Minister of Public Function and Regional Affairs|
17 January 1995 – 22 March 1996
|Prime Minister||Lamberto Dini|
|Preceded by||Giuliano Urbani|
|Succeeded by||Giovanni Motzo|
|Member of the Chamber of Deputies|
9 May 1996 – 22 November 2004
29 April 2008 – 14 March 2013
14 March 1957
|Political party||Socialist Party (Before 1994)|
Forza Italia (1994–2009)
People of Freedom (2009–2012)
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Occupation||Politician, ex lawyer|
Studies and early career
From 1984 he was State Attorney and magistrate of the Regional Administrative Court (TAR) in Piedmont. In 1986 Frattini was named member of the Italian Council of State and legal adviser of the Treasury Ministry.
He was secretary of the Federation of Young Italian Socialists (FGSI) and member of the Italian Socialist Party.
Junior minister in the Berlusconi I and Dini cabinets (1994–96)
In 1994 he becomes member of Silvio Berlusconi's newly founded Forza Italia party and is named Secretary-General of Presidency of the Council of Ministers during the Berlusconi I Cabinet in 1994–1995. He was Minister for Public Administration and later Minister for Regional Affairs in the following technocratic Dini Cabinet (1995–1996).
MP for Forza Italia (1996–2001)
MP, Junior and Foreign Minister in the Berlusconi cabinets (2001–2004)
From 2001 he took part in the Berlusconi II Cabinet as Minister for Public Administration. The so-called Frattini Act, namely Law no. 215/2004, on "Rules on conflicts of interest", approved by Parliament on 13 July 2004, received criticism from the Council of Europe's Venice Commission on its compatibility with international standards on freedom of expression and pluralism of the media.
From 14 November 2002 to 18 November 2004 Frattini served as Foreign Minister: the appointment of Frattini followed ten months of interim by Berlusconi himself, after the resignation of the forme FM Renato Ruggiero due to his contrasts with the foreign policies of the government.
During its ministerial tenure, Italy supported the invasion of Iraq by the United States led by George W. Bush; Frattini called it a "legitimate intervention" even in the absence of a UN mandate. Frattini authorized the overflight and the use of Italian military bases by the Anglo-American coalition. Italy did not take part militarily in the invasion of Iraq but provided political and logistical support to the operation, so much so that it was included by the White House in the list of members of the "Coalition of the willing".
Frattini later sent an Italian military and police contingent to Iraq, in what he called a "humanitarian emergency intervention". An Italian contingent of about 3,200 men was sent to Iraq shortly after the official end of large-scale military operations (Bush's announcement of 1 May 2003). On 15 July 2003, the "Operation Ancient Babylon" began at the dependency of the British forces in the southern Dhi Qar province, centered in the town of Nassiriya where the Italian Barbara Contini was charged with civilian administration by the Coalition Provisional Administration. A suicide attack there killed 19 Italians, among military and civilians. Other clashes in the Italian sector occurred during the fights between the Shiite militiamen of the Mahdi Army and the coalition troops (spring-summer 2004), including the "battle of the bridges" of 6 April 2004 in Nassiriya, in which the Italian Bersaglieri made about fifteen casualties among Iraqi insurgents and civilians.
During the Italian military presence in the south of Iraq, eight Italians were kidnapped, of whom two were later murdered: the mercenary Fabrizio Quattrocchi and the journalist Enzo Baldoni, in addition to the SISMI agent Nicola Calipari, killed by U.S. soldiers during the liberation of kidnapped journalist Giuliana Sgrena. It remains unclear whether Italy offered a ransom for the release of the other six hostages. The killing of Quattrocchi was reported live on TV Porta a Porta, where Frattini was a guest in the studio, which raised criticism of Frattini for the lack of tact in not informing the victim's family in advance. Frattini was later also criticized for saying Quattrocchi "died bravely, I would say as a hero"
In 2004, Frattini had to leave office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which passed to Gianfranco Fini following a government reshuffle. Italy's participation in the post-war occupation of Iraq remained unpopular with Italian public opinion. At the beginning of 2006 the Berlusconi III government announced its intention to withdraw the Italian contingent from Iraq by the month of November, a calendar later respected by the Prodi II government that succeeded to it.
European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security (2004–2008)
On 4 November 2004, Frattini was named by Silvio Berlusconi to take up the Justice and security portfolio in the European Commission, in place of the controversial Rocco Buttiglione, whose appointment had been rejected by the European Parliament. The appointment of Frattini to the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security raised concerns from the British Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, due to accusations of belonging to Freemasonry, raised by Buttiglione himself towards Frattini and denied by the latter. Frattini was also afforded one of the five seats as vice-president of the European Commission. In the 2007 tax return, his Italian tax base was zero because his income as a European Commissioner was taxed in Brussels.
In February 2006 during the Danish cartoons row Frattini defended the media's freedom of speech, though did express disagreement with subject of the cartoons.
November saw the commissioner's concern for child welfare extended to video games, calling for tougher controls; anything relating to stricter self-regulation to an outright ban In 2007 he called for a ban on the horror title Rule of Rose, and criticised the EU-endorsed PEGI system for granting the game a 16-years-or-over age rating. Reports on GameSpot showed he was seeking a Europe-wide ban on violent videogames. On 6 February 2007 – Safer Internet Day 2007 – Frattini recalled the need to protect children's rights, saying: "I am deeply concerned at this potential harm by the internet to children. This could involve people preying on them or children accessing racist, cruel or violent material."
Following the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack he criticised the handling of Islam by member-states and called for a "European Islam".
As European Commissioner he promoted a "visa facilitation agreement between the European Community and the Russian Federation" (2007/340/EC: Council Decision of 19 April 2007), which however led to the expulsion of countless citizens Europeans domiciled for a long time in Russia on the basis of annual visas, which due to the introduction by the agreement of a limit of stay in the territory of maximum 90 days out of 180 were forced to leave the country, not being able to reside on the spot on the basis of unlimited annual visas as happened in the past. Article 5 of the law of the Russian Federation 25 July 2002 n.115, provides in fact the limit of 90 days of stay only to those who are not subject to the visa regime, but the agreement drawn up by Frattini extends this limit to all the citizens of the Union.
In 2008 Frattini left in unpaid leave as Commissioner to run for election in Italy. He did not directly resign from his Commissioner post, to avoid that his successor be appointed by the out-going Prodi II Cabinet. He only resigned as Commissioner after taking up the position of Foreign Minister in the Berlusconi IV. The role of European Commissioner from Italy was then assigned to Antonio Tajani, with responsibility for transports rather than for justice. Frattini was the second ever European Commissioner from Italy to choose Italian over European politics, after the resignation of Franco Maria Malfatti in 1972.
During his term as European Commissioner, Frattini was also appointed by the Prime Minister Berlusconi to the coordination of assistance from the government for the conduct of the Winter Olympics in Turin 2006
MP and Foreign Minister (2008–2011)
At the 2008 snap election Frattini was nominated for the People of Freedom party in the north-eastern constituency of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and elected to the Chamber of Deputies. From 2008 to 2011, during the Berlusconi IV Cabinet, Frattini was back as Foreign Minister of Berlusconi, as between 2002 and 2004.
In October 2009 he was awarded the Premio America of the Italy–USA Foundation.
Since September 2009 Frattini is president of section at the Council of State section, and in 2012 he is assigned as president to the Advisory Section for Regulatory Acts.
Role during international crises
During the Russian invasion of Georgia in the summer of 2008, Frattini was on vacation in the Maldives. The representation of Italy during the urgent meetings of EU foreign ministers was ensured by the undersecretary Vincenzo Scotti.
The US ambassador in Italy, Ronald Spogli, informed Washington, in a confidential cable distributed by WikiLeaks, of how Berlusconi "constantly refuses the strategic advice of his Foreign Ministry, demoralized, devoid of resources and increasingly irrelevant". Frattini's weakness was detected by the United States particularly with regard to Italian-Russian relations.
At the end of December 2008, during Israel's war on Gaza (Operation Cast Lead), Frattini is on holiday again. Frattini's live interview with TG1 in a skiing suit raises controversy over inappropriate and disrespectful clothing. Frattini answers via Facebook.
The treaty of Benghazi and the condemnation of Italy for rejections at sea
During the first summer of his ministry the "Treaty of friendship between Italy and Libya" was signed (so-called Benghazi agreement); with this treaty, Qaddafi's Libya agreed to repatriate the boats of sub-Saharan migrants from the Libyan coast to Italy. Cooperation between the two coast guards started in May 2009, with protests from international groups for the protection of human rights, which criticized the return of migrants – including eligible asylum seekers – to Libya, which had not ratified the UN convention on refugees; the policy was subsequently suspended but not officially repudiated. Frattini had openly supported the policy of "respingimenti", contrary to the international humanitarian law principle of non-refoulement, describing such policy as a "due application of European rules", and stamping as "unworthy" the 2010 report by Amnesty International that highlighted the critical nature of this policy in light of international and European law.
In September 2010, on the occasion of the second visit of Qaddafi to Rome, Frattini declared "We have blocked the trafficking of illegal immigrants", despite the figures showing the continuation of migratory flows, and despite being mainly people entitled to forms of international protection. In February 2011, in a set-up changed by the Arab spring uprisings, Frattini claimed to want to "mobilize the Mediterranean countries" and the EU, through the Frontex agency, for patrols and refoulements. Yet again in August 2011, a boat with more than 100 migrants, intercepted at sea, was transferred to the Tunisian authorities, among the criticisms of NGOs and UNHCR.
The European Court of Human Rights, in the Hirsi v. Italy ruling of 23 February 2012, condemned Italy for breach of the convention, in particular with regard to Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment) and Article 4 of Protocol IV (prohibition of collective expulsions ); in this case, 200 Somali and Eritrean migrants had been rejected in Libya under the Benghazi agreement, without having the possibility of applying for asylum in Europe.
Evaluations of Italian foreign policy under Frattini
The reaction of Italian diplomacy, led by Frattini, to the revolts of the Arab spring and the Libyan civil war has been defined as "reactive" and "unrealistic" by the ISPI-IAI 2012 report edited by Alessandro Colombo and Ettore Greco. Like other Western countries, Italy has been completely taken aback by the Arab uprisings, and after a first moment at loss it has tried to frame the phenomenon in the reassuring discourse of democratization, reassured by the absence of Islamist symbols or anti-Western slogans. If the initial hesitations and the abrupt U-turn on the Qaddafi regime can constitute an element in common with other countries, Italy is the only international actor who long sought to "cling to its own imaginary role of mediator ", for which however lacked both power and necessary authority. With the evolution of the conflict, Frattini and Italian diplomacy have resorted to the "usual option to follow the stronger allies", facilitated in this by the "dilution of Franco-British unilateralism in the multilateral framework of NATO" and by the guarantee of participation American.
As far as European politics is concerned, according to Colombo and Greco, the reaction capacity of the Berlusconi IV government has proved to be "totally insufficient", in the absence of a coherent long-term and vulnerable strategy to the internal divisions of the majority and to a "persistent underestimation of risks ". According to Colombo and Greco, the attitude of the Berlusconi IV government over the EU has been "particularly erratic", pointing to the Union from time to time as a mandatory external constraint, the cause of national evils, or the only source of salvation. This volatility led to the projection of an image of an unreliable Italy in Europe. Frattini and Italian diplomacy have also lost the initiative in proposing themselves in Europe as an engine or co-star of pro-integration coalitions, dealing with Europe only in an "occasional and distracted" manner, and rather caring for important bilateral relations (with Russia and Turkey, for example), regardless of the international and European context, according to a "small cabotage" policy. All of this, coupled with the Merkel-Sarkozy duo's inclination to leave other actors out, led to Italy's exclusion from the main European policy initiatives. This deficit of attention to the European Union, resulting in a growing isolation, has also had implications in other areas of foreign policy: the difficulties in relations with the United States, for example, are traced by Colombo and Greco to the widespread overseas perception of a growing marginalization of Italy in the European context.
In 2011 Frattini was briefly president of the Alcide De Gasperi Foundation and from 2011 he was president of the Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI), an emanation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Frattini was the first politician to hold SIOI chairmanship, until then reserved for diplomats and academics of the highest level. In 2014 he was appointed president of the "Institute of Eurasian Studies".
Frattini did not run for the 2013 Italian general election, while supporting the "Agenda Monti" and Scelta Civica. Frattini has since recovered his position as member of the judiciary and Chamber President of the Italian Council of State.
Since 2014, Frattini is a member of the high court of sports justice of CONI, a court of last resort of the Italian sports system. He exercised his function as judge for the Parma case, decreeing in May 2014 that the Emilian soccer team could not play in the Europa League.
In 2018, on the occasion of the Italian presidency of the OSCE, Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano appointed Frattini as "Special representative of the OSCE presidency for the process of resolving the conflict in Transnistria". Among his credentials, Frattini said: "I have excellent relations with the Russian authorities, which undoubtedly played a fundamental role in the resolution [of the conflict] in Transnistria", in addition to reminding his own role in starting the process of liberalization of Schengen visas for Moldova.
Interviewed by Reuters in 2007, he said his intention to investigate technical possibilities for implementing internet monitoring of "dangerous words" such as "bombs", "killing", "genocide" and "terrorism". The project did not see the light.
In 2007, Frattini was censured by the European Parliament for its statements against the freedom of movement of people in the EU. In the interview granted and published 2 November 2007 Frattini stressed that to respond to the security problem «... what is to be done is simple: you go to a nomad camp in Rome, for example on the Christopher Columbus, and to those who are there you ask" what's your life? ". If all year "I do not know", you take it and send it back to Romania. This is how the European directive works: simple and without escape. » The motion of censure, presented by the European left, was voted to a large extent: 306 yes, 86 no and 37 abstentions.
In March 2009 Frattini condemned the Durban 2009 UN Conference against Racism, calling the final document as unacceptable, since it included anti-Israeli positions that emerged in the 2001 conference, which qualified Zionism as a form of racism.
In November 2009 he called "suggestive" Roberto Castelli's proposal for a constitutional amendment to include a cross in the Italian flag: "For now we wish to defend the right to keep the crucifix in our [school] classes, later we'll see if we can do more ". "There are nine European countries that have the cross in their flag, it's an absolutely normal proposal".
On 22 October 2010 he declared to the Osservatore Romano that Judaism, Christianity and Islam should ally to fight atheism, which he defined, in the same interview, as a "perverse phenomenon" on a par with extremism . These statements raised criticisms of numerous commentators and members of UAAR, who requested his resignation. Frattini reiterated in 2017 that relativism is the third threat to Europe after religious extremism and militant secularism.
Frattini received Medaglia Teresiana at University of Pavia in 2008.
- Malaysia : Honorary Grand Commander of the Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia (2003)
- Uruguay : Grand Officer of the Medal of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (2003)
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