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Established in 1985, the Committees of Italian abroad (Comites) are representative bodies of the Italian community, directly elected by the Italian nationals living abroad in each consular district where at least three thousand Italian nationals registered in the updated list referred to in Article 5, paragraph 1, of Law 459/2001, live.
In the districts where fewer than three thousand Italian citizens live, the Committees may be appointed by the diplomatic-consular authorities.
The Committees are composed of 12 or 18 members, depending on whether they are elected in consular districts with fewer or more than 100,000 resident Italian citizens, as they result from the updated list of Italian citizens living abroad.
In addition to the elected members of Italian citizenship, foreign citizens of Italian origin may be members of the Committees, by cooptation, in a number not exceeding one third of the elected Committee members (4 or 6 members).
Pursuant to Article 1, paragraph 2, of Law 286/2003, the Comites are representative bodies of Italians abroad in their relations with diplomatic-consular Missions.
They contribute to identifying the social, cultural and civil development needs of the community of reference, also through studies and research. Jointly with the consular authorities, the regions and local authorities, as well as with bodies, associations and committees operating within the consular district, they also promote appropriate initiatives in matters pertaining to social and cultural life, with specific reference to youth participation, equal opportunities, social and educational assistance, vocational training, the recreational sector, sport and leisure.
The Committees are also called upon to cooperate with the consular authorities in protecting the rights and interests of Italian citizens residing in the consular district.
Following the elections in December 2021, there are now 115 elective Committees operating worldwide, of which 9 are newly established and 3 are consular-appointed. The 118 Committees are distributed as follows: 55 in Europe, 44 in the Americas, 10 in Asia and Oceania, 4 in the Middle East and 5 in Africa.
- Law No. 286 of October 23, 2003. Rules and regulations governing the Committees of Italians abroad (as from the date of entry into force of this Law, Law No. 205 of May 8, 1985, and subsequent amendments, and Law No. 172 of July 5, 1990 are repealed).
- Presidential Decree No. 395 of December 29, 2003. Regulations for implementing Law No. 286 of October 23, 2003 governing the Committees of Italians Abroad.
- Ministerial Circular No. 2 of July 28, 2020 (Circolare Ministeriale n. 2 del 28 luglio 2020) on the ways and methods to provide contributions to the Comites.
- Attachments – Ministerial Circular no. 2 of 28 July 2020 (Allegati – Circolare Ministeriale n. 2 del 28 luglio 2020)