Skip to Content

Painting of Venice by Canaletto

Two Italian regions schedule referendums for greater autonomy

Two of Italy’s wealthiest regions will soon hold referendums on whether or not its leaders should push for greater autonomy.

Published: October 5, 2017, 7:01 pm

    Later this month, Lombardy and Veneto, will both go to the polls to decide on more regional powers and less control from Rome.

    Veneto is one of the 20 regions of Italy. Its population is about five million, ranking fifth in Italy. The region’s capital and most-populous city is Venice. One of Italy’s largest regions, Lombardy lies in the north of the country, sharing a border with Switzerland.

    Luca Zaia, the Governor of Veneto, originally wanted to host a referendum on seceding from Italy or more control over taxation in the region, but the Italian Constitutional Court blocked the plan.

    Zaia had to scale back on the initial proposals and has instead asked voters whether or not they support “increased measures and particular conditions of autonomy”.

    Although these referendums would not be legally binding, they could have a significant impact on the Italian general election, set to be held towards May next year.

    Lombardy and Veneto are responsible for producing respectively around 20 and ten percent of Italy’s total GDP.

    A ‘yes’ vote could force the hand of a new Prime Minister in Rome to devolve decision-making to regions or risk them declaring independence, as Catalonia did last week.

    Lombardy’s Regional President Roberto Maroni explained: “It’s all about the money,” adding that if the state gives them more funds, he wwould not hold the referendum.

    “They aren’t asking for ‘independence’ but administrative authority,” he explained. “First they’ll vote, then in the event of a ‘yes’, the state will need to decide how to react. There are two main ways the issue could be settled: a reform of the entire country toward a federal system, or the possibility of particular regions being given special status.”

    Some regional leaders of the anti-immigration Northern League party, have supported independence for the northern regions.

    Matteo Salvini, Northern League leader, however slammed both sides in the Catalan debate. “Ours is a completely different choice from Catalonia,” he said. “We have chosen the peaceful path, respecting the rules and managing it better. On October 22nd [the date of the referendums], there will be no police. ”

    He critised the Spanish government’s forceful response, saying: “A government that uses violence to empty and close polling booths, using violence against children and the elderly, is shameful”.

    Flemish Minister-President, Geert Bourgeois, meanwhile said during a radio interview that he was jealous of the Catalans, following their historic vote for independence on Sunday.

    “Everyone is always asking what N-VA will do. However, it is clear what N-VA is and that is a nationalist party. We are jealous of the Catalans.”

    Bourgeois said that if more Belgians had expressed pride in their identity, secession would have had more support. In Catalonia, he said, politicians and cultural figures from across the political spectrum support greater Catalan autonomy.

    “The world of sport, the world of sport, football club Barça, the world of culture, the unions… they all support it. There are Catalan flags everywhere”.

    He could not say if the Catalan vote would empower Flemish secessionists: “We should see how the situation evolves. N-VA are for self-determination, but there is still a long way to go. We operate in a totally different context.”

    But Bourgeois slammed the EU’s response to the violence, saying it should have condemned the violence sooner. The Flemish politician expressed hope in dialogue between all parties. “If this doesn’t prove possible then an arbitrator should be appointed,” he added.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Migrant gets milder punishment to prevent his expulsion after rape

    AmsterdamA Dutch judge has just given an asylum seeker a milder punishment after he raped a disabled girl, so as to prevent the migrant's expulsion.

    Russia continues warning of provocations in Syria

    The Russian Defense Ministry has continued its warning of another fake a chemical incident which would be a pretext for a US-led attack on the Syrian government.

    Bombing of Italian League office treated as terrorism

    Treviso Prosecutor Michele Dalla Costa said on Friday that the explosives planted outside the provincial office of the League in the town of Villorba was "terrorism".

    Dutch nationalists burst dyke of Amsterdam swamp

    The HagueThe results of the Dutch municipal elections bode well for conservatives. The new nationalist party on the Dutch scene won two seats in far-left Amsterdam, bolstering youthful conservative forces under the leadership of Thierry Baudet.

    Seven French mayors warn government of mounting migrant crisis

    ParisThe mayors of seven major French cities warned that the continued flood of migrants have them "backed up against a wall". They urged the government of Emmanuel Macron Paris to address the mounting strain on their communities.

    German pilots refuse to fly out migrant deportees

    German pilots have refused to carry out the planned deportations of rejected asylum seekers.

    Mike Pence vows to help persecuted Christians by cutting UN funding

    Christians are currently one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world. US Vice President Mike Pence addressed the In Defense of Christians' fourth-annual national advocacy summit in Washington, DC this week, promising aid.

    Police evict thousands of migrants from Paris… again

    ParisOn Friday morning 2 500 migrants were evacuated from the Port de la Chapelle, in Paris after reports of growing tensions and their squalid living conditions had surfaced.

    Bill Gates: German open door migrant policy heading for disaster

    Bill Gates has warned that Europe's open-door immigration policy is heading for a disaster.

    Turkey: Threatening Europe from the Middle East

    OPINIONOpinion: French Lawyer Dr. Elie Hatem on the latest crisis between Qatar and its neighbours – and the role of Ankara

    Go to archive