Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Duke of Savoy one step closer to returning to Italy

Peterborough - Daily Telegraph - 3rd January 2002

As Zahir Shah, the king of Afghanistan, prepares to return home from exile in Rome, his Italian counterpart, the Duke of Savoy, is about to hear whether his own banishment is at an end. On January 22, the European Court of Human Rights will decide on a claim by Duke Victor Emmanuel de Savoie that the Italian government is unlawfully barring him from entering the country.

At present, Italy's constitution bars all male members of the duke's family from setting foot on its soil, even though - by dint of his Belgian passport - he is an EU citizen. "After years of work, it's getting very exciting now," says the duke's cheerleader-in-chief, Tory MEP Charles Tannock. "We're working on two fronts: at the moment, the Italian government is trying to push through a Bill to allow him back, too. I'm confident that the decision will go our way soon."

It probably will, if precedence is any guide. King Constantine of Greece recently got the court to declare as unlawful various measures that the Greek government had taken against his family.