Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 15:14 GMT

Chronology for South Tyrolians in Italy

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for South Tyrolians in Italy, 2004, available at: [accessed 19 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
1991 Despite the expression of separatist sentiments, polls show that a majority of German-speaking Italians favor remaining part of Italy.
May 1991 The SVP submits a draft Protocol on the Fundamental Rights of Ethnic Groups on the European Convention of Human Rights to the XVIII Congress of Nationalities, held in Budapest. It later (July 1991) submits the Protocol to the CSCE Conference of Experts on National Minorities in Geneva. Amongst other things, the Protocol calls for rights of group protection, including official status of the minority's language in areas where it constitutes at least 10% of the resident population; education in the mother-tongue at all levels (with recognition of academic qualifications obtained abroad); proportional representation in public employment where the minority constitutes at least 10% of the population, and in areas where the minority does not constitute 10% of the population, preference to be given to multi-lingual applicants when filling vacancies; protection for the homeland--no measures aimed at changing the demographic composition of the homeland without the minority's consent; and co-determination in relation to legislation affecting the protection of the minority.
Sep 1991 South Tyrolians launch new calls for autonomy. A deputy from Alto Adige tells Rome's Chamber of Deputies (lower house) that the region has never recognized the redrawn borders after World War I which ceded the region from Austria to Italy. Also, a SVP member announces that "regionalism is dead now" and that the time to exercise self-determination has come.
Sep 15, 1991 3,000 to 4,000 people demonstrate on the Austrian side of the Italian-Austrian border in the town of Gries to back calls for the reunification of Upper Aidge and the Austrian province of Tyrol into an independent "united Tyrol." Italian nationalist parties organize a counter-demonstration in the northern town of Balzano.
Nov 1991 Italy passes a law recognizing several minority languages including German. In any region where a linguistic minority comprises at least 15% of the population, that minority has the right to watch state television in their own language and have that language taught at all schools.
Jan 30, 1992 Italy completes its autonomy package for South Tyrol. The package was originally promised in a 1972 autonomy deal. SVP leaders, while supporting the measure, are not completely satisfied and want the agreement to be subject to international arbitration.
May 30, 1992 At a SVP convention, South Tyrolians vote overwhelmingly (82.6% in favor) to accept Rome's autonomy package. The package which is designed to guarantee equal civil rights for the region's German-speakers has been introduced piecemeal over the last 20 years. The package makes bilingualism a precondition for public service, guarantees schooling in German, and apportions public sector jobs, housing and benefits 2-1 in the German-speakers' favor to reflect the population mix.
Jun 19, 1992 Italy and Austria declare that their territorial dispute over South Tyrol is officially settled.
Mar 1994 In national elections, the SVP wins 3 out of 315 contested seats in the Italian senate.
Aug 18, 1994 Ein Tyrol leader Karl Ausserer threatens to renew his group's terror campaign after a member of the group is arrested by Italian police.
Aug 22, 1994 Austria urges Italy to declare an amnesty for German-speaking separatists accused of bombing campaigns in Italy during the 1960s and the 1980s.
Nov 24, 1995 Italian President Scalfaro flew to Italy to appeal for national unity after Austrian intelligence agents discovered that armed groups of Schutzen hunters and members of rifle clubs calling for Tyrolian cultural and political unity attended paramilitary training camps for weapons courses. The group had also asked the European Union for funds to create a Tyrolian region-state straddling the borders of Italy and Austria. (The Times 11/24/95)
Jan 24, 1996 At a press conference in Strasbourg, an Italian government official announced that Italy had rejected a proposal to allow Alto-Adige and the Austrian region of Sued-Tyrol to set up a bureau to represent their joint interests to the European Union assembly in Brussels. (European Report 1/24/96)
Mar 2, 1996 A serial killer who shot six people in the Alto-Adige town of Moreno before killing himself was described by police as a neo-Nazi committed to reunifying the area with Austria. All but one of his victims had been Italian-speakers. The Italian and German communities of Alto-Adige have limited interaction. (The Independent 3/2/96)
Jul 31, 1996 Italy's President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro granted pardons to 24 separatist activists from the northern Alto Adige region convicted of involvement in several bombings in the 1960s. (Financial Times 8/1/96)
Sep 16, 1996 The leader of Italy's Northern League, Umberto Bossi, declared independence for what he calls the New State of Padania. It would run along the Po River Valley from Turin to the Adriatic (including the region of Alto-Adige), and issue its own currency and legal system. During a ceremony in Venice yesterday, Bossi witnessed the lowering of the Italian flag and the raising of the flag of Padania. While Italian President Scalfaro threatened legal action, residents in the affected area began to move away from the leader, who had been more popular when he simply seemed to advocate more federalism. (National Public Radio 9/16/96)
Feb 18, 1997 Christian Waldner, who founded the group Buendis 98 as a more right wing reaction to other parties= searches for German-language autonomy and secession of Tyrol to Austria, was found bludgeoned to death in the hotel he owned. He had planned to attend meetings of the secessionist Northern League Movement before his death. A former friend and member of the Schutzen, Paul Rainer, was charged with the murder two days later, leading the government to fear an increasing in fighting between nationalist factions in South Tyrol. (Agence France Presse 2/18/97 and The Observer 2/23/97)
Apr 21, 1997 The European Union awarded 11.85 million ECU to cross-border regions of Austria and Italy to improve natural resources, increase economic cooperation and develop tourism. (Commission of the European Communities Press Release 4/21/97)
Oct 26, 1997 Umberto Bossi held an election for a parliament for the Federal Republic of Padania, which listed over 1,100 candidates from various political parties. The 200 representatives selected were to draw up a constitution for Padania, which would be placed on a referendum in 1998. Turnout for the election was low, however. (Agence France Presse 10/26/97)
Apr 1, 1998 Austria, the last country in the European Union to comply with the Schengen Accords, opened its border with Italy and Germany amidst celebrations. German speakers on both sides of the border looked forward to being able to freely see family and friends whom they had not been able to see since the border controls were tightened as a reaction to the Italian Tyrolian secessionist terrorism of the 1960's - 1980's. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 4/1/98)
Jun 17, 1998 Italian deputies approved a draft law to protect and promote linguistic minorities in Italy by allowing their languages to be spoken in courts and permitting ethnic names which had been Italianized to revert back to their original spellings. The measure had not yet been approved by the Senate. (Agence France Presse 6/17/98)

Search Refworld