Rocco Buttiglione

Rocco Buttiglione

Infobox Prime Minister


honorific-prefix =Senatore
name = Rocco Buttiglione
order = Italian Minister of European Politics
term_start = June 11, 2001
term_end = April 23, 2005
primeminister = Silvio Berlusconi
predecessor = Gianni Francesco Mattioli
successor = Giorgio La Malfa
order2 = Minister of Culture and Tourism
primeminister2 = Silvio Berlusconi
deputy2 = Antonio Martusciello
term_start2 = April 23, 2005
term_end2 = May 17, 2006
predecessor2 = Giuliano Urbani
successor2 = Francesco Rutelli
birth_date = Birth date and age|1948|6|6|mf=y
birth_place = flagicon|Italy Gallipoli, Italy
nationality = flagicon|Italy Italian
party = UDC

Rocco Buttiglione (born June 6, 1948) is an Italian Christian Democrat politician and an academic philosopher.

His being proposed as a European Commissioner resulted in controversy, as some political groups opposed him for his Roman Catholic views on homosexuality, despite his assurances that these were only his personal convictions and would not dictate his administration.

He is a Professor of political science at Saint Pius V University in Rome, and member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. He served as a minister for EU policies in Silvio Berlusconi's government from 2001 to 2006.

In May 2006, he unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Turin.

Previous career

Rocco Buttiglione was born in Gallipoli, Puglia.

He studied law in Turin and Rome and became a Professor of political science at Saint Pius V University in Rome. He was also a professor of philosophy and acting rector at the International Academy for Philosophy in Liechtenstein.

Rocco Buttiglione first attained attention on the Italian political stage when he became secretary of the People's Party, the largest of the parties that emerged from the Democrazia Cristiana, formerly the largest party in Italy since World War II after the Tangentopoli corruption scandals, in 1994. The Popular party had presented itself along with Mario Segni in a centre alliance, in which came third after Silvio Berlusconi's and the left-wing coalition.

In December 1994 the Berlusconi government came to an end as the Lega Nord left the coalition to a temporary coalition with the left wing and the Popular party; Buttiglione was then leading it. Berlusconi, outraged that he had been ousted by the Parliament of Italy, unsuccessfully requested new elections. Berlusconi had tense relationships with Lega Nord's leader, Umberto Bossi, and all involved in what he called the "ribaltone" for many years, but eventually both Bossi and Buttiglione would join forces with him to win the 2001 elections.

Buttiglione was elected a Parliamentary Deputy for Milan in May 2001, and joined Berlusconi's new government as the European Union Policy Minister. From 2005-06 he was Minister for Cultural Assets and Activities.

Nominee for the European Commission

Reasons for the nomination

Following an increase of support for his Catholic, centrist political party, Union of Christian and Centre Democrats (UDC), in a difficult period for Silvio Berlusconi's government, the party's leader, Marco Follini, could ask for more influence in the government. In particular, the UDC was lobbying against the powerful economy minister Giulio Tremonti, supported by Umberto Bossi's Lega Nord; Tremonti was later put out of office and replaced with the politically more neutral Domenico Siniscalco.

Furthermore, according to the new balance of power inside the ruling coalition, the UDC was still entitled to more benefits, and it was decided that Rocco Buttiglione, already a minister in the government, would be Italy's member of the European Commission, and his place in the Italian government would be taken by another member of UDC.

Rocco Buttiglione was also indicated as qualified because he spoke foreign languages, among others English, German, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Polish. He certainly speaks German and English fluently .

In 2004, José Manuel Barroso included him on his list of nominees for the European Commission, with a designated portfolio of Justice, Freedom and Security.

Controversy

The nomination resulted in controversy. As a Roman Catholic, Buttiglione believes that homosexuality is a sin, and that "The family exists in order to allow women to have children and to have the protection of a male who takes care of them" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3734572.stm] .

During his hearing before the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice And Home Affairs, he was asked about his stance on these issues and carefully reiterated his views, but insisted that his personal opinion would not prevent him from dutifully administering his office.

The PSE, ALDE and Green/EFA groups, in the tactful terminology of the EU, "expressed reservations" regarding his ability to take positive political action in the area of citizens' rights, in particular as regards combating discrimination, and threatened to reject the entire proposed Commission. On October 11 the committee voted by 27-26 not to endorse the nomination. After it became clear that a vote on October 27 in the European Parliament, to approve the Commission, would not succeed, José Manuel Barroso withdrew his proposed Commission.

Italian Catholic politicians and church leaders have rallied to defend Buttiglione's views. "This decision shows the real face of Europe, a face which we don't like. It's fundamentalist, which is absolutely not on," said Justice Minister Roberto Castelli [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3739154.stm] .

On October 21 José Manuel Barroso attempted to defuse the row by indicating that civil liberties, human rights and discrimination issues would be handled by a special panel that would include Buttiglione but that Barroso himself would chair it. "The new Commission will be absolutely opposed to any kind of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, or religious beliefs", he stated.

On October 30 Silvio Berlusconi announced that the Italian government would withdraw Buttiglione's nomination, keeping him in his office of minister in the Italian government; however, he did not mention who would be the Italian candidate to be a member of the European Commission.

"The new soft totalitarianism that is advancing on the left wants to have a state religion It is an atheist, nihilistic religion - but it is a religion that is obligatory for all" complained Buttiglione in subsequent comments.

Foreign minister Franco Frattini was later indicated as a possible alternative, with the implicit promise that his ministry would then go to Gianfranco Fini, whose party had recently increased its influence in the government coalition. However, there were still rumors that Giulio Tremonti, supported by Lega Nord, might be picked for the job, but eventually Frattini was nominated and appointed.

Turin Mayoral Election

Rocco Buttiglione ran as the candidate for his coalition, the House of Freedoms, for the office of Mayor in Turin. His opponent was the incumbent Sergio Chiamparino, member of the Union. Turin had been a left-wing stronghold in the previous general elections and the city hosted successfully the 2006 Winter Olympics, making Buttiglione's challenge very difficult. Adding to that, some wondered why such a hard-line conservative, who had never lived in Turin before, was proposed for the office, calling Buttiglione's move as a political suicide.After a poor campaign results were disastrous, Sergio Chiamparino, who had been elected in the previous elections with 52.8% of the votes, scored 66.6% of the votes against Buttiglione, and became the first Turin mayor to be elected at the first turn. [http://www.repubblica.it/speciale/2006/elezioni/comunali/torino.html]

Financial investigations

It has also emerged that Buttiglione was investigated by the authorities in Monaco in 2002 over possible illegal money laundering in favour of his political party. At the end no evidence was found that any crime had been committed. Giampiero Catone, a senior aide of Buttiglione, has been charged with "fraudulent bankruptcy" in Italy; and faces inquiries into the disappearance of millions of Euros of Italian and EU funds. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/10/20/weu20.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/10/20/ixworld.html]

Publications

*"Dialettica e nostalgia" (1978)
*"La crisi dell’economia marxista: Gli inizi della scuola di Francoforte" (1979)
*"Il pensiero di Karol Wojtyla" (1982)
*"Ethik der Leistung" (1988; co-edited with Hans Thomas)
*"La crisi della morale" (1991)
*"Die Verantwortung des Menschen in einem globalen Weltzeitalter" (1996; co-edited with Rocco Buttiglione, Radim Palouš, Josef Seifert)
*"Wie erkennt man Naturrecht?" (1998; co-edited with Josef Seifert)
*"Karol Wojtyla: The Thought of the Man Who Became Pope John Paul II" (1997)
*"The moral mandate for freedom: Reflections on Centesimus Annus" (1997)

External links

* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3718210.stm Profile: Rocco Buttiglione] (BBC)
* [http://www.threemonkeysonline.com/article_rocco_buttiglione_moral_maze.htm Rocco Buttiglione Responds - The Moral Maze Pt II]
* [http://newmedia.ufm.edu.gt/pagina.asp?nom=discursobuttiglione Honors to Rocco Buttiglione at Francisco Marroquín University, New Media]
* [http://www.hildebrandlegacy.org/main.cfm?EID=18 Member of the Advisory Council: the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project]
* [http://www.pensarecristiano.org Pensare cristiano]


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