Dual Status for South Tyroleans?

A recent proposal by an Austrian politician of the “right” to extend dual status rights including passports to residents of the “South Tyrol”, which by the way coincides with the already self-governing, bi-lingual German-Italian speaking, province of Bolzano, has “liberal” Italy in a tizzy. With elections around the corner expect to hear “tutto ed il contrario di tutto” from the Italian mainstream press, which is predominately liberal. If anything, you would expect the reaction to be less hysterical and more like, “Hey, sounds like a good opportunity to me, so when do we move to Bolzano?” The “we” of course could be me or you or anyone else for that matter, unless that is, the proposal is intended only for “ethnic” Tyroleans, which in Europe’s global multi-cultural / racial / religious societies sounds so politically incorrect as to make one’s skin crawl.

Well, already an Italian quasi “rightist” like Alfano in need of a boost in morale and votes has already vowed to defend the “Italian South-Tyrol”, which sounds good except that it may be geographically Italian but everything about the Sud Tirolo or Alto Adige as the Italians prefer to call it, says otherwise. The landscape, the roads, the wooden houses and towns says, gleich, perhaps, but “different”. It is of course this “difference” which makes the South Tyrol such a lovely vacation spot / haven to go to and get away from the more crowded Italian towns to the south.

Italian opposition to dual status for the province of Bolzano rests primarily on the lack of any real need given the self-governing status of Bolzano and the many bureaucratic problems “two citizenships” would ultimately create for the “lucky few”, say I, that live in this Alpine paradise. The irony of course is that by pushing for “ius soli” legislation which will automatically grant Italian citizenship to anyone born within the Republic (including the South Tyrol), thereby greatly increasing the number of potential “dual status” citizens throughout the country, especially absent any repeal of existing “ius sanguinis” provisions, Italians regardless of political persuasion will now find it next to impossible to justify denying these same rights to citizens living in the South Tyrol. Bellissimo!

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