WASHINGTON, October 20, 2017 – Italy may be heading toward a bit of a civil war.
Home to twenty-five percent of Italy’s overall population, Lombardy and Veneto plan to vote on autonomy from Rome. On Sunday they will hold referendums on greater autonomy, or “uscita”, from Rome’s influence. While both regions have previously campaigned for complete independence from Rome, their leaders have made it clear the ballots are about autonomy and not secession.
Although legally non-binding, the exercise is the latest ripple in a wave of votes on greater autonomy across Europe including from Scotland in 2014 to Brexit last year and Catalonia in September.
The Guardian reports that Sappada, a mountainous town in Veneto located near the regional border with Friuli-Venezia Giulia is ready to switch regions to become one of Italy’s five semi-autonomous regions. The area is a prime destination for hiking and skiing. The plan was approved by the Italian government in September after a lengthy bureaucratic process.
“The reasons for people wanting to be part of Friuli are varied: we have our own dialect, which originates from German, and culturally we feel closer to Friuli,” Manuel Piller Hoffer, the mayor of Sappada, told the Guardian.
“But the main one is economic: living next door to a semi-autonomous region, people see advantages that they don’t have. They see finances being controlled better, a better health service and sustainable investments being made – they see a better standard of living.”
EURONEWS reports on Italy’s changes: