Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Who Gains From A Broken Italy? Crisis Profiteers

South Tyrol Austria Italy Nazi politics economy Germany secessionism separatism
Herbert Schweiger: SS veteran and supporter of South Tyrol Independence
... While Catalan separatism is grabbing attention throughout Europe, South Tyrolean secessionist efforts are also making bigger waves. Once more, the German austerity dictate to counter the Euro crisis is the direct cause. Rome is obliged to execute drastic budget cuts, as demanded by Berlin, which effect the financial margin of maneuver for the Bolzano Alto Adige ("South Tyrol") province. The cancellation of resources earmarked for South Tyrol has provoked protests. The question of whether Austria can intervene in Rome on behalf of South Tyrol, is again being raised in this context. Austria presumes the "protective power" function for the German-speaking population of Northern Italy. "We are speaking here about Italian domestic problems, there is no need for Vienna's competence," admonished Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, in late October. His observation harvested vehement protest in South Tyrol and Austria. "On the question of South Tyrol" thundered Austria's former National Council President, Andreas Khol (ÖVP), Monti must "be urgently given tutoring." In Bolzano, the ruling South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP) has announced it would intervene both in Rome and Vienna - Austria's function as "protective power" is not an issue. It has even been suggested that North Italian public squares be named after Austria - as "clear evidence of the ties."

This month Vienna reacted. First, the Austrian government summoned Italy's ambassador to the foreign ministry to protest Monti's statement. Last Friday, the National Council gave an audience to a delegation from the South Tyrolean parliament in Vienna, which complained "about the pressure" exerted "from the Italian central government" on South Tyrol. An SVP parliamentarian complained that "in its austerity regulations," the Italian government "was ignoring the autonomy statutes" and infringing on "South Tyrolean competence." It is furthermore intending "to reform Italy's constitution to make it even more centralist." To which the president of Austria's National Council replied that Vienna, under no circumstances, would alter its prevailing political standpoint. It will "maintain its protective function for South Tyrol."  (more...)


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