The northern Italian province of South Tyrol, or Alto Adige in Italian, has always been a point of contention between Austria and Italy. Now, while Vienna controls the EU presidency, plans to grant dual citizenship to the German-speaking minority in the mountainous province has bothered the Italian government.
On Monday, Italy’s foreign minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi cancelled a meeting with his Austrian counterpart and said the proposal deteriorates trust between the two countries.
South Tyrol was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire until 1919, before being annexed by Italy as an autonomous province after the First World War.
According to the last census in 2011, about 70% of locals said they were German speakers, which is the official language of Austria.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz backed this proposal by claiming there are many South Tyroleans who want dual citizenship.
Rome has responded by calling the timing of this proposal insensitive being that it is 100 years after the end of the First World War. Italy is also warning that the plan could have potentially “disturbing consequences”.
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