Problems and Purpose
The Statute Reform was promoted in particular by Alto-Adige historically led by the People's Party of South Tyrol (SVP, Südtiroler Volkspartei) but consequently also affects Trentino. The revision is due to the need for updating (the last reform dates back to 1972) and for opportunities, given the initiated phase of national constitutional reform "Renzi-Boschi". Although the latter was blocked by the Confirmatory Constitutional Referendum of 4 December 2016 in which 60% of citizens spoke out against the maneuver, the Trentino-Alto Adige reform process has not stopped. The timing of the national reform preceded the special statutory one and guaranteed its safeguard, that is, the non-applicability of the reforms in progress, relating to the structure of the regional autonomies, to those of the special autonomies until the end of the revision of the Trentino and South Tyrolean statutes, of agreement with the respective bodies.
Already after the war, Alto Adige and Trentino enjoyed greater autonomy than the other Italian provinces, both in terms of coexistence rules and tax management. With the end of the Cold War and European integration there have been many changes. The Regions of South Tyrol (Alto Adige) and Trentino have approached the Austrian ones of Tyrol and Voralberg and have created a Euroregion; the presence of Italian military personnel has decreased and the German majority has benefited from it; the independence pressures have not diminished but have been integrated into the democratic confrontation; the Ladin community has grown slightly and has strengthened its civil prerogatives and its identity; the foreign community and non-EU presence has grown considerably; tensions between linguistic communities have eased, however rivalries remain and the institutional level has decided to make an important commitment on the dialogue front before proceeding with an update of the Statute.
We, the coalition partners for the Provincial Government (of Bolzano) of the 2013-2018 Legislature, together want to lead our province towards a secure future. We are aware that the question of "what to do" to achieve the goal cannot find an exhaustive answer in the current view, while instead we can already identify the "how". Consequently, we intend to commit ourselves in full openness and maximum availability to cooperate with the various political forces, with institutions and with representatives of public interests. We want the citizens of South Tyrol to participate in the decision-making processes that are important for our territory in order to be able to face the challenges that await them in the best possible way (Accordo, 2013, p. 3).
Our fellow citizens and our fellow citizens - as a society, with all its facets - are the most important interlocutors. It is to their needs that we must direct our objectives and our action. Citizens and townspeople must again be guaranteed greater room for maneuver and choice but also the possibility of assuming greater personal responsibility. To this end, both bureaucratic and financial reliefs and new opportunities for decision-making involvement in political processes must be introduced, in order to encourage new forms of participation. The coalition partners recognize that organizations, associations, institutions, companies and collective stakeholders are also an expression of the declaration of will and the manifestation of consensus of the South Tyrolean society. The objective of all political action is an equitable society, in which solidarity and subsidiarity are practiced and lived (Ib., P. 5).
Background History and Context
Today Trentino - Alto Adige is among the most developed Italian and European regions in an economic, political and cultural sense. The care for the spectacular alpine landscape attracts a flourishing tourism; technological innovation attentive to the environment and the good use of natural resources, culture (in all fields), attention to social well-being, are at the center of a model of human development that achieves results aimed at improving quality of life and a widespread and fairly distributed well-being, especially between urban and rural settlements, if compared to the rest of Italy.
However, it is a territory that historically has seen several changes of political domination, violent conflicts, cultural divergences, of which traces and attenuated legacies still remain, in a population that speaks two main languages (German and Italian) and a minority, Ladin. , deeply rooted in some secondary valleys in small communities.
The contrasts between the two main communities date back to the nineteenth century, the era of nationalisms, therefore to the various claims of cultural homologation and assimilation towards foreign populations.
During fascism (1939) the Italianization policies were very strong and violent and were even encouraged in the German community, thanks to agreements with the Reich (of which Austria was a part), mass exodus beyond the Brenner ("The option of citizenship "). During the last years of the war, with the Nazi occupation, various massacres and massacres then exacerbated the resentments between the two populations (the Nazi army also recruited young Tyroleans, including the soldiers killed in the street attack, for example. Rasella in Rome, the reprisal that followed led to the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine). However, there were also Tyrolean anti-Nazis and some who collaborated with the resistance, therefore also many persecuted as traitors.
After the war, the Paris, De Gasperi-Gruber agreement of 1947 initiated a phase of improvement in relations between the two states, of respect for the borders and rights of German-speaking populations and of a legislative autonomy assigned at regional level to the two provinces; although, in the (re) sentiments of many Austrians and Tyroleans, there were still aspirations for reunification. The winning powers, however, were intent on dismembering the Germanic territory and Italy had no interest in losing that geostrategic advantage by maintaining the borders at the Brenner.
With the entry into force of the Italian Constitution (1948) special autonomies were defined, continuing the path of reconciliation of the two populations and a phase of local government led by the Christian Democrats and the Südtiroler Volkspartei (SVP), the reference party of the population German-speaking (who had opposed Nazism and was not expatriate to Austria), therefore autonomist, but of Christian social-democratic inspiration. Living conditions and local development improved considerably and in the 1950s there was also a massive return of expatriates from Austria who rekindled Tyrolean irredentism, also with the support of the Austrian Republic which returned to mediate in the political affairs of 'South Tyrol. With the return of the expatriates in the SVP, a strongly autonomist line prevailed which demanded more and more powers from the Province of Bolzano which was affected at the regional level by the predominance of the Italian majority.
Towards the end of the sixties, this generated an acute phase of conflict, protests and the formation of more extremist groups that organized sabotage actions that marked a terrorist phase, still dark and controversial, where the infiltration of services is not excluded. secrets (Italians in particular) within the framework of the strategy of tension. In 1972, also following these tensions, the second Statute of autonomy was introduced, which provided for a regime of legislative autonomy at the level of the individual provinces of Trento and Bolzano, separating their destinies. By transferring most of its competences to the provincial levels, the regional level remained a level of coordination of the two.
This change first rekindled an Italian neo-irredentism then, towards the end of the eighties, with the growth of well-being due also to greater tax advantages, to the emergence of new common problems (the environment) and to the pro-European openness and therefore to the opportunities for rapprochement with other cross-border Alpine regions, the tension has eased. However, there are still various separatist, pro-independence and Euroregionalist currents that are for the most part integrated into the democratic confrontation and organized into political parties.
Current trends concern: the reduction of Italian military personnel and therefore a reduction of Italian native speakers; a relative growth of the Ladin community; a growth of EU immigrants (especially Germans) and non-EU immigrants (from Italy); a greater diffusion of bilingualism and trilingualism and mixed marriages; various experiments of schools with bilingual teaching; greater exchanges with cross-border countries, thanks to the Euro and new agreements within the Euroregion Tyrol - Alto Adige - Trentino; new research and retractions relating to the history of terrorism in South Tyrol, despite the fact that the archives of the Italian secret services relating to that period are not yet accessible.
In South Tyrol the predominant party is still the SVP (which reached 45.7%, a relative decrease compared to the previous ones) in coalition with the Democratic Party (PD) which collects a good percentage of votes (about 6-7 %). In Trentino the governing party is currently the PD, heir to the DC, leader of the center-left alliance in which the SVP also takes part, where it gathers a small percentage of voters.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The SVP-PD coalition (SVP majority in Bolzano and PD majority in Trento) promoted this reform project in the two provinces with participatory modalities, on the occasion of the provincial elections in 2013; first in the campaign and in its own electoral programs (Accordo, 2013; Programma, 2013) and, following the electoral success, with respective laws (Province of Bolzano, provincial law no. 3 of 23/4/2015; Province of Trento, law provincial no. 1 of 2/2/2016).
The two laws define the rules, the fundamental stages with the relative times of the institutional path and participatory processes and the amount allocated for the purposes of their organization: for Bolzano, the Agreement for Autonomy has a duration of 12 months with an extension not exceeding 6 months and the estimated budget is 350,000 Euros (art. 7 co. 2); for Trento, the Council remains in office for 12 months and can be extended for another 12 if necessary, the allocation envisaged for the application of the law is 30,000 Euros (Article 6 par. 1).
Participant Recruitment and Selection
The South Tyrolean process takes place in three stages.
- 9 Open Spaces that took place in the main cities of South Tyrol, online forums, social networks; access to these events and channels is open to all. The languages used in the documents and discussions are Italian, German and Ladin. An Open Space (of 27/2/2016) was dedicated to young people with the Future workshop method. Following the Open Spaces, 4 meetings (workshops on a pre-established theme) were organized with the representatives of the South Tyrolean associations in Bolzano in which one representative per association could participate for a maximum of 2 workshops of their choice.
- Forum dei 100. Anyone resident in South Tyrol over 16 years of age could submit their candidacy. The 6 meetings of the 100 are held at the headquarters of the curator of the course, Eurac research in Bolzano. A stratified sample is extracted from the applications trying to achieve a balanced representation of linguistic groups, genders and age of the South Tyrolean population as resulting from the last census of 2011 . Out of 1829 candidates: 73% were men and 27% women, 83% German, 13% Italian, 4% Ladin; the candidates came from 112 out of 116 municipalities in the whole territory .
- The "Convention of 33" or "Forum of 33" meets at the Provincial Council or at the Eurac headquarters in Bolzano and is composed of:
- 4 members among nine names proposed by the Council of Municipalities;
- 2 members among six names proposed by the most representative associations of entrepreneurs
- 2 members among six names proposed by the most representative trade unions;
- 5 people, experts in law, chosen according to criteria established by the Bureau, appointed by the Provincial Council;
- 8 members, elected within the Forum of 100 .
- 12 members appointed by the Provincial Council, on the proposal of the majority or minority council groups, with proportional representation of the political minority.
The Trentino process starts with the appointment and establishment of the Council for Autonomy, composed as follows (Prov. 1/2016, art. 2):
- 3 members designated by the most representative trade associations at the provincial level in the sectors of agriculture, industry, crafts, trade and tourism;
- 1 member designated by the Trentino Cooperation Federation;
- 3 members designated by the most representative workers' trade unions at the provincial level;
- 3 members designated by the Council of local autonomies;
- 1 member designated by the conference of linguistic minorities (article 9, provincial law on linguistic minorities, n.6 19/6/2008);
- 3 members representing associations and organizations with social, cultural and environmental interests based in the province;
- 2 experts in public, constitutional or regional law, designated by the University of Trento;
- 9 members appointed by the President of the Council from among the provincial councilors on the basis of the designations of the conference of presidents of the council groups, pursuing adequate gender representation. Five of them represent the majority, four the council minorities.
The meetings of the Council are held at the headquarters of the Provincial Council of Trento, in Italian; it avails itself of the technical and organizational support of the offices of the Provincial Council and the Provincial Council, with modalities agreed upon between the President of the Provincial Council and the President of the Province, after consulting the President of the consultation (Provincial Law 1/2016, art. co. 7).
Since the participatory process, which the Council must organize (Ib., Articles 4-5), has not yet started, it is not possible at the moment (8/2/2017) to identify the methods for selecting participants.
Methods and Tools Used
9 Open Spaces that took place in the main cities of South Tyrol, online forums, social networks; access to these events and channels is open to all. An Open Space (of 27/2/2016) was dedicated to young people with the Future workshop method. Following the Open Spaces, 4 meetings (workshops on a pre-established theme) were organized with the representatives of the South Tyrolean associations in Bolzano.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The South Tyrolean process has adopted a more bottom-up approach, starting from the organization of 9 Open Spaces distributed throughout the territory, the opening of a website with information and document archive and an online forum and two social channels on Facebook and Twitter. About 2000 people took part in the meetings, held between January and March 2016, addressing 258 thematic discussions stimulated by the title of Open Space: “Imagining Alto-Adige; what future for our territory? ". The minutes were drawn up by the participants and archived on the website, then summarized according to qualitative criteria by the Eurac curators (Convention, 2016). The objective of the first phase of the participation process was to collect the themes, points of view and ideas, thus creating the conditions for a constructive exchange of views. The topics covered the most debated topics also in the forum: Extension of autonomy, rehabilitation of South Tyrolean activists condemned by the Italian State in absentia and living in Austria, self-determination / independence, coexistence between linguistic groups, culture, Euroregion, immigration, Ladinia, multilingualism and linguistic / ethnic proportions, social issues, relations with Austria, elected representatives, school, sustainability, toponymy. A topic of discussion also concerned the participation of citizens.
“Direct and deliberative / participatory democracy should find greater recognition in the Statute of autonomy. It should be possible to participate in referendums from the age of sixteen. For all areas of primary competence of the Province it is hoped that the population will be able to decide on fundamental issues by virtue of their own sovereignty. The new Statute of Autonomy should also be submitted to a referendum. Direct democracy in Switzerland and Liechtenstein is mentioned as reference models "(Convention, 2016, cit., P. 26-27).
Another series of 4 meetings held in Bolzano, in May, were dedicated to associations, in the form of workshops with a pre-established theme on: the South Tyrolean model; the South Tyrolean society; political policies and processes; the protection of minorities.
The workshops aim on the one hand to identify any additional issues with respect to those that emerged during the Open Space events, on the other hand they aim to elaborate concrete proposals for the modification and expansion of the Statute of autonomy.
The provincial law n. 3/2015 requires the opinions of organized civil society to be collected. Workshops, like open spaces, aim to bring out the plurality of contents and opinions, without necessarily having to reach shared decisions or results. The results of this phase, together with those of the open spaces, form the basis for the work of the Forum of 100 and the Convention of 33.
The Forum of 100 dialogues with the Convention of 33 during the entire phase of the work and acts as a link between the South Tyrolean population and the Convention. The specific task of the Forum of 100 is to bring various areas of interest to the discussion and to arrange for the exchange of views on the central questions of the discussion on the reform. At the same time, the results from public events and thematic discussion circles with experts will be particularly taken into consideration (2 meetings to date 8/2/17). The will meet a total of six times during the work phase.
The Forum of 33 in 2016 met 14 times and there are still 10 remaining (the final meeting will be held on 30/6/2017, the minutes and analyzes of the interventions are available online. The Forum of 33 will have to draw up the proposal document reform of the Statute which will be discussed by the Provincial Council and then approved.
The Trentino route started later than in Alto Adige; the Council took office on 12 September 2016 and at the moment (8/2/2017) it has met 10 times. The approach is more top-down. First, the provisional auxiliary body (La Consulta) prepares a preliminary document revising the Statute, then organizes a participatory process involving organized civil society and the general public, finally transmits the latest version of the document, taking into account the comments received, to the Council and the President of the Province. Specifically of the times:
- Within one hundred and twenty days from its first session, the council draws up a preliminary document with the main criteria and guidelines for the drafting of the reform project of the Special Statute. The preliminary document is proposed to the participatory process in the manner that the Council deems most appropriate (Prov. 1/2016, articles 4-5).
- As a result of the participatory process, and taking into account its results, it consults it, within sixty days, draws up a final document, transmitting it to the President of the Province and to the President of the Provincial Council.
On the Autonomia website it is possible to follow the live streaming of the sessions of the Consulta or review the video recordings, as well as find information on the route. In the last session of 6/2/2017, the platform that will be used for the participation of citizens is presented, not yet active, as the involvement of citizenship has not yet started.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The process is still ongoing. The South Tyrolean investment was significant, with a good involvement of organized civil society and individual citizens and towns that had a notable impact also on the local media . Various criticisms have come from some provincial opposition councilors, always relating to the application of the proportional criterion and the manipulation of the majority relative to certain appointments (eg that of Luis Durnwalder, historical exponent of the SVP), however the political forces in the Council do not they obstructed the initiative, not even with votes against .
In the Trentino case, it is still too early to detect results and effects because the process of involving citizens has not yet begun.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
The dimension of the process and the linguistic complexity of the territory demonstrate that participatory processes can succeed in obtaining a quality involvement, generating dialogue and open confrontation. Some have criticized the lack of outreach effort in involving new immigrants, but among the delegates that make up the forum there is an awareness of this so they have activated their own network of contacts to include residents of foreign origin as much as possible .
Perhaps a longer phase of sharing the participatory path project with the opposition political forces and above all with the associative world was missing, in such a way as to give at least the general perception of a confrontation more open to surprises and less manipulated by the majority.
In both cases, since there are no tools for counting the final preferences that increase the representativeness of the results, the two shareholding operations are expected to be strongly controlled by the institutional bodies and therefore by the parties of the majority. Some have asked for a referendum for the definitive approval of the reforms but it might be advisable to first test the results individually, separately, through a wide open access consultation (eg through online questionnaires assisted by municipal operators, in libraries or municipal schools, to reduce costs) alternatively or before any official referendum confirming the final document.
Coalition agreement for the formation of the Provincial Government (of Bolzano) for the Legislature 2013-2018, 2013> link
ASTAT, Linguistic Barometer, 2014> link
Autonomous center-left coalition, Program by Ugo Rossi, President of the Autonomous Province of Trento, 2013> link
Agreement for Autonomy, Imagining South Tyrol, The ideas of the participants, 2016> link
Autonomy - Reform of the Statute of the Autonomous Province of Trento> link (ril. 8/2/2017).
Agreement for Autonomy - Reform of the Statute of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano> link (ril. 8/2/2017).
 One of the recurrent criticisms from citizens who speak in Italian, in the online forum, concerns the so-called “linguistic proportional” or “ethnic proportional”. Opposed in the 1980s by Alex Langer (1946-1995), as the generator of "ethnic cages", this measure was adopted after the 1972 reform to ensure equal access to public places, social services, social housing, etc., and to make amends for the injustices suffered by this population in the Fascist period; imbalances that continued to reproduce even after the war. Also in this case it was used to select, from among the candidates, those who were going to make up the Forum of 100. According to some, today it no longer makes sense because in addition to having abundantly rebalanced the situation, there are new trends (such as immigration, bilingualism) and its application would penalize selection based on merit. Furthermore, it was criticized that for the selection the variables of geographical origin, income or profession were not used, finally there would be no transparency in the procedure because the list of candidate citizens was not published (see Marco De Simone, " Methods of selection and transparency ", release 8/2/2017). Other citizens who speak in German (see Arno Reiner, comment on: " Are we sure we belong? ", Issue 8/2/2017) argue that there are still sectors such as public security (police, army and carabinieri) where the "proportional" is not applied and the "Linguistic Barometer" survey (ASTAT, 2014), conducted on 3000 respondents, has shown that this policy has not created problems and the vast majority of the population (including Italians and Ladins) is satisfied.
 Here is the Forum of 100 (rel. 8/2/2017).
 Also in this case, there was no lack of criticism of the results, given that the proportional dynamics were reproduced with 2 elected Italians (see Nadia Mazzardis, " Wanting to drive a Ferrari with the pedals ", issue 8/2/2017 ). However, one of these is Olfa Sassi, a cultural mediator of Tunisian origins, who has lived for 15 years in Bolzano where she studied and works (see “ 3 questions to ... Olfa Sassi ”, issue 8/2/2017).
 For example, on the website of the newspaper Alto Adige by inserting the query "Convention of 33" you have more than 60 results (rel. 8/2/2017).
 Report of the session of 7/4/2016 of the Provincial Council.