Reflections on the future of Autonomy
As the Trentino Community, let’s take advantage of this day to focus on the meaning and the future of Autonomy.
While on one hand the ongoing economic crisis leads us to consider as crucial priorities the problems of work, families and businesses, I am convinced of the need to have a more adequate and efficient political-institutional system in order to actually address these problems.
And it is precisely here that the question of autonomy should enter.
Italy today can no longer postpone the issue of constitutional reform, and in particular, of Title V. (The section of the Italian Constitution that deals with the relationships among the State, regions, provinces and communities)
Many are the requests for greater autonomy from the various Regions of Italy. These echo those of the citizens who are increasingly developing the conviction that Autonomy is the model capable of giving new wings to the structure of the country.
This data is also confirmed by a recent survey, conducted by Demos & Pi in July 2019, which shows that Italians want more autonomy for the territories and consequently a new institutional structure.
In a context of such great turmoil, the political agendas of the various parties cannot disregard the issue which must, however, be transferred and brought back to the principle of responsibility.
This reorganization must therefore start with the recognition of the responsible experiences of autonomy of which some regions – among them, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol – are carriers.
At stake is not just the “armour plating” of our autonomy for geographical, historical reasons or by virtue of international treaties and agreements. Rather, it is a matter of grasping and enhancing the contribution that our experience can give to the Italian system, to make it the heritage of everyone.
To think that autonomy can “be saved” only through political-regulatory stratagems or by perpetrating the logic of the “safeguard clause” is a short-sighted strategy, especially in the face of the constant distrust with which the Roman salons regard the special status autonomies. If we want to give a positive boost to autonomy, we must give politics a long vision under the banner of collaboration with the State and the creation of networks with other territories.
The special Autonomy of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol has already shown itself to be moving in this direction, both on the occasion of the Milan Agreement and with the Pact of Rome. These agreements have demonstrated that the Provinces of Trento and Bolzano do not intend to remain entrenched in self-defense in the face of changes, but have moved ahead by assuming further responsibilities, all within a collaborative logic towards the State and the other territories.
These results were achieved only thanks to the dual and intrinsic nature of our autonomy: “responsible” on the one hand and “experimental” on the other.
But is all this sufficient to guarantee a prosperous future for our autonomy? The answer is no”!
Although our autonomy is virtuous and responsible it becomes a battleground between those who have it and those who do not. It is perceived as an indispensable tool of emancipation by those who have it and as an unjustifiable privilege by those who do not have it. For this reason it must either become an instrument and an opportunity for all the territories or it risks becoming a target of revenge.
It is a question of clearly demonstrating the principle of responsibility assumed by our land, where autonomy has always meant the exercise of competences (also very “impactful” from an economic-financial point of view) with resources coming entirely from the local populations, but where autonomy has always meant solidarity with the rest of the country.
We have never avoided the process of reorganizing the State (the Milan Agreement and the Pact of Rome are irrefutable proof of this).
But today autonomy must mean more and more proximity to all the national territories that demand self-government with force and responsibility. Only in this way will it become a useful and indispensable asset for the entire country.
Today we have to play an important role, being active protagonists of a process called for from multiple quarters.
Autonomy requires that Trento and Bolzano collaborate to share a model characterized by responsibility and not by wanting to hoist walls between territories. We must offer an image of the autonomy of positive collaborative emancipation and not of an instrument of selfish closure (as often transpires in the arguments of the Northern League).
To conclude, we must try to be protagonists in creating a network and a “political alphabet” that allows the territories to speak the same language in their relations with Rome to “weigh in” unitarily and authoritatively on the political level.
Only in this way will the much hoped for dream of institutional reform be able to produce concrete and tangible results for the territories and for the country.
[*Translator’s note: It is with much pleasure and appreciation that I present this translation of a post from the blog of Nicola Fioretti, Mayor of Aldeno, on the precious subject of both our own special Autonomy and how it might come to be a role model for a restructuring of the Regions of our country. It was originally posted on September 5th, the day we celebrate our special Autonomy. I’m happy to make his thoughts available to our English speaking diaspora, as reasonable voices such as his are crucial to us all during the period of political uncertainty and upheaval.]