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Alfano gives instructions on the dual nationality proposal for the German and Ladino-speaking people of Alto Adige

“I have instructed our Ambassador not to attend the meeting on the proposal to grant dual nationality to the German and Ladino-speaking people of Alto Adige scheduled in Vienna on 23 March. As was reaffirmed by my Austrian colleague Kneissl at the meeting in January, any eventual discussion on the theme can only occur between Rome and Vienna and not, on an equalitarian basis, with Bolzano, which is an Autonomous Province of the Italian Republic,” stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano. He added: “The Italian position is well-known on the unfoundedness of the reasons brought forward by Vienna in defence of the dual nationality proposal which is inconsistent with the high levels of protection and development of minorities in South Tyrol, with existing bilateral relations, with Italy’s and Austria’s common membership in the EU and with international law. On the other hand, Vienna too recognizes the sensitivity of the dual nationality issue within the context of Alto Adige, where peaceful coexistence between different language groups and an extraordinary socio-economic development are the fruit of the set-up designed under the De Gasperi-Gruber Agreement and are guaranteed by the Statute of Autonomy, a model widely appreciated worldwide which must be maintained. In this context, the proposal to grant dual nationality to the German and Ladino-speaking citizens of Alto Adige appears to be incomprehensible: it would risk having a heavy impact on the aforesaid positive context and undermine a history of success that is internationally recognized. We therefore expect a very deep reflection on the possible implications and we are ready to examine all possible ways of objecting to an act that would not be compliant with international law.” Minister Alfano then went on to specify how “the recognition of the statute of autonomy, as well as the protection of linguistic minorities, are founding principles enshrined in our Constitution, together with – allow me to emphasise – the principle of the unity and indivisibility of the Italian State.”