“Italian-style” secession and the semi-indifference of national politics

While elsewhere in Europe independence through secession from a sovereign state is deemed to be an issue that touches upon the very foundation of the constitutional pact, of living together,[i] in Italy it does not raise any public discussion beyond academic and judicial circles.[ii] As if, by downgrading the constitutional essence of the question to an element of regional folklore or, even worse, ignoring it, the risks at stake in terms of loyalty to the Constitution and endurance of the Republic would magically disappear.

In the UK a careful reflection is currently underway, at Westminster as well, on the negative outcome of the Scottish referendum for independence of 18 September 2014 and on the pros and cons of a more “advanced” devolution of powers to Holyrood. In Catalonia the President and two other Ministers of this Comunidad autónoma are subject to an investigation by the High Court of Justice of Catalonia for their role in holding a consultation, which resulted in favour of secession, on 9 November 2014, although the Spanish Tribunal Constitucional had ordered the suspension of such a consultation and, more recently, on 25 February 2015, declared some provisions of the new “Law of popular consultations without referendum nature” and the “Decree of Call” unconstitutional. By contrast, in Italy the attempt of the Veneto to secede from the Republic has remained completely out of the national political debate and, more worryingly, has been absent from parliamentary debate.

This is astonishing if we consider that, while the regional Council of the Veneto was passing Law no 15/2014, on the consultative referendum for the Veneto’s autonomy, and Law no ...

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