Skip to main content

South Tyrol’s Model of Conflict Resolution: Territorial Autonomy and Power-Sharing

Part of the Federalism and Internal Conflicts book series (FEINCO)

Abstract

This chapter examines South Tyrol’s power-sharing system by pointing to its origins and creation, by offering an essential account as to how it plays out today, and by assessing it in the context of Italian regionalism. South Tyrol’s power-sharing system shows how asymmetry in constitutional design contributes to successfully settle a minority-related conflict. However, it also exemplifies how a territory effectively builds its subnational governance by sharing powers both horizontally (between language groups in South Tyrol, and as an autonomous province within the special region Trentino-South Tyrol) and vertically (between South Tyrol as the northernmost part of Italy and central authorities in Rome). The chapter concludes by arguing that trust, time, and adaptability are the three keys of success in creating, implementing and enhancing South Tyrol’s model of conflict resolution.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-53590-2_8
  • Chapter length: 29 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-53590-2
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Map 8.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    See Parolari and Zwilling (2018) for a selected bibliography of publications on the case.

  2. 2.

    The smallest (and oldest) language group present in South Tyrol, the Ladin, is technically not covered by the Agreement. The interests of the Ladin-speakers have been traditionally put forward by the German-speakers and by their most representative party, the South Tyrolean People’s Party (SVP ).

  3. 3.

    Adopted with constitutional law no. 5 of 26 February 1948.

  4. 4.

    UN resolutions no. 1497 (XV) and no. 1661 (XVI), respectively issued in 1960 and in 1961.

  5. 5.

    The Second ASt was adopted by constitutional law no. 1 of 10 November 1971.

  6. 6.

    For a full account of the scope of South Tyrol’s territorial autonomy see Obwexer and Happacher (2015).

  7. 7.

    It has to be noted that formally the Commission of Six is part of the Commission of Twelve, which deals with competence-transfers from the central to the regional level. Thus, the political landscape in the autonomous province of Trento and the relations between the political elites in Trentino and South Tyrol are of relevance for the functioning of the Commission of Six and ultimately vertical power-sharing between Rome and South Tyrol.

  8. 8.

    According to art. 48 of the Second ASt, for the first half of a legislature, the president of the provincial parliament is elected from among the members of the German language group, and for the second half from among those of the Italian language group, with the vice-presidents always elected from among the members belonging to linguistic groups different from that of the president. Moreover, with the agreement of the majority of the members of the German or Italian language group, a member of the Ladin language group can also be elected president for the respective period.

  9. 9.

    For details on the composition of power-sharing executives in South Tyrol see Panzano (2018: 156–160).

  10. 10.

    The declaration may also be made by persons aged between 14 and 18 years.

  11. 11.

    Angonese v. Cassa di Risparmio di Bolzano SpA, Judgment of 6 June 2000, C-281/98, EU:C:2000:296.

  12. 12.

    Friuli-Venezia Giulia was established only in 1963 because of the international regime on the area of Trieste until 1954.

  13. 13.

    They are adopted and amended by a regional law approved by the regional parliament with an absolute majority of its members with two subsequent deliberations at an interval of not less than two months and a possible regional referendum (art. 123 of the ItConst). This gives them a higher status in the hierarchy of norms compared to other regional legislation.

  14. 14.

    The statutes of special regions are adopted by the national parliament according to the special procedure laid down in the statute of each special region (with the exception of the financial provisions that may be amended by an ordinary State law after an agreement between the State and the special region/two autonomous provinces). According to art. 138 of the ItConst, constitutional laws shall be adopted by each chamber after two successive debates at intervals of not less than three months, and they shall be approved by an absolute majority of the members of each chamber at the second vote. Unlike other constitutional laws, amendments to the statutes of the special regions shall not be in any event subject to a national referendum (for South Tyrol see art. 103 of the Second ASt). Providing one would jeopardize the rationale of the principles of speciality and bilateralism between special regions and the State, and in case of South Tyrol the whole machinery of minority protection.

  15. 15.

    Article 10 of constitutional law no. 3/2001 provided for the application of the reform to the special regions and the autonomous provinces Trento and Bolzano/Bozen, insofar as this results in a higher degree of autonomy. This results in difficult questions of interpretation.

References

  • Alber, E. (2012). South Tyrol’s Education System: Plurilingual Answers for Monolinguistic Spheres?. L’Europe en Formation 1(363): 399–415. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.cairn.info/revue-l-europe-en-formation-2012-1-page-399.htm#.

  • Alber, E. (2015). Qualified Autonomy vs. Secessionist Discourses in Europe: The Case of South Tyrol. In E. M. Belser et al. (Eds.), States Falling Apart?—Secessionist and Autonomy Movements in Europe (pp. 267–296). Bern: Stämpfli Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alber, E. (2017). South Tyrol’s Negotiated Autonomy. Journal of Ethnic Studies, 78, 41–48.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alber, E., & Palermo, F. (2012). Creating, Studying and Experimenting with Bilingual Law in South Tyrol: Lost in Interpretation? In X. Arzoz (Ed.), Bilingual Higher Education in the Legal Context (pp. 287–309). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alber, E., & Trettel, M. (2018). The Italian Education System: Constitutional Design, Organization and Policy Making. In K. K. Wong et al. (Eds.), Federalism and Education (pp. 131–161). Charlotte, NC: IAP Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • ASTAT. (2012). Astatinfo Nwr. 38, 06/2012, Landesinstitut für Statistik. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://astat.provinz.bz.it/de/volkszaehlung-wohnungszaehlung-2011.asp.

  • ASTAT. (2019). Astatinfo Nr. 62, 09/2019, Landesinstitut für Statistik. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://astat.provinz.bz.it/de/aktuelles-publikationen-info.asp?news_action=4&news_article_id=630458.

  • Atz, H., & Pallaver, G. (2019). Der Reiz des Neuen. Unzufriedenheit bestraft die Regierungsparteien gleich wie die etablierte Opposition. In A. Engl et al. (Eds.), Politika 2019—Südtiroler Jahrbuch für Politik (pp. 115–153). Bozen: Raetia.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baldini, G., & Baldi, B. (2014). Decentralization in Italy and the Troubles of Federalization. Regional and Federal Studies, 24(1), 87–108.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Carlà, A., & Constantin, S. (2019). Territorial and Cultural Self-Governance in Italy: Strengths and Challenges of South Tyrol’s Autonomy. In O. Akbulut & E. Aktoprak (Eds.), Minority Self-Government in Europe and the Middle East (pp. 154–182). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.

    Google Scholar 

  • De Winter, L., & Türsan, H. (Eds.). (1998). Regionalist Parties in Western Europe. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Engl, A. (2013). The European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC): Origin, Content and Member State Implementation. In A. Engl & C. Zwilling (Eds.), More? New Potential for the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation—EGTC (Vol. 63, pp. 9–37). Bozen: Eurac Research Book.

    Google Scholar 

  • Engl, A., & Zwilling, C. (2008). Cross-Border Cooperation Between Historical Legacies and New Horizons. In J. Woelk et al. (Eds.), Tolerance Through Law: Self Governance and Group Rights in South Tyrol (pp. 161–176). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eurostat. (2019, February 26). Regional GDP Per Capita Ranged from 31% to 626% of the EU Average in 2017. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/en/web/products-press-releases/-/1-26022019-AP.

  • First Autonomy Statute. 1948. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.landtag-bz.org/de/datenbanken-sammlungen/autonomiestatut.asp#anc1953.

  • Grote, G. (2012). The South Tyrol Question, 1866–2010: From National Rage to Regional State. Bern: Peter Lang.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gruber-Degasperi Agreement. (1946). Retrieved March 4, 2020, from http://www.regione.taa.it/codice/accordo_d.aspx.

  • Gudauner, K. (2013). Zu Unrecht verteufelt—Eine Zwischenbilanz zum Proporz als Garantieinstrument. In G. Pallaver (Ed.), Politika 13—Jahrbuch für Politik (pp. 181–220). Bozen: Raetia.

    Google Scholar 

  • Klotz, G., & Pallaver, G. (2018). Partiti e sistemi elettorali nelle Regioni a Statuto speciale: un confronto. In F. Palermo & S. Parolari (Eds.), Le variabili della specialità. Evidenze e riscontri tra soluzioni istituzionali e politiche settoriali (pp. 33–70). Napoli: ESI.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lantschner, E. (2008). History of South Tyrol Conflict and its Settlement. In J. Woelk et al. (Eds.), Tolerance Through Law: Self Governance and Group Rights in South Tyrol (pp. 3–15). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lantschner, E., & Poggeschi, G. (2008). Quota System, Census and Declaration of Affiliation to a Linguistic Group. In J. Woelk et al. (Eds.), Tolerance Through Law: Self Governance and Group Rights in South Tyrol (pp. 219–223). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marko, J. (2008). Is There a South Tyrolean ‘Model’ of Conflict Resolution to be Exported? In J. Woelk et al. (Eds.), Tolerance Through Law: Self Governance and Group Rights in South Tyrol (pp. 371–388). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.

    Google Scholar 

  • Obwexer, W., & Happacher, E. (2015). Entwicklungen und Veränderungen der Südtiroler Autonomie seit der Streitbeilegungserklärung 1992. Rechtsgutachten. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from http://www.provinz.bz.it/news/de/news.asp?news_action=4&news_article_id=589813.

  • Palermo, F. (2008). Implementation and Amendment of the Autonomy Statute. In J. Woelk et al. (Eds.), Tolerance Through Law: Self Governance and Group Rights in South Tyrol (pp. 143–159). Leiden, Boston: Martinus Nijhoff.

    Google Scholar 

  • Palermo, F., & Parolari, S. (Eds.). (2018). Le variabili della specialità. Evidenze e riscontri tra soluzioni istituzionali e politiche settoriali (pp. 161–198). Napoli: ESI.

    Google Scholar 

  • Palermo, F., & Valdesalici, A. (2019). Irreversibly Different: A Country Study of Constitutional Asymmetry in Italy. In P. Popelier & M. Sahadžić (Eds.), Constitutional Asymmetry in Multinational Federalism: Managing Multinationalism in Multi-tiered Systems (pp. 287–315). Basel: Springer International Publishing.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Pallaver, G. (2006). The Südtiroler Volkspartei: From Irredentism to Autonomy. In L. de Winter et al. (Eds.), Autonomist Parties in Europe: Identity, Politics and the Revival of the Territorial Cleavage (pp. 161–188). Barcelona: Aleu Institut de Ciències Polítiques i Socials.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pallaver, G. (2008). South Tyrol’s Consociational Democracy: Between Political Claim and Social Reality. In J. Woelk et al. (Eds.), Tolerance Through Law: Self Governance and Group Rights in South Tyrol (pp. 303–324). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pallaver, G. (2011). The Südtiroler Volkspartei. In A. Elias & F. Tronconi (Eds.), From Protest to Power: Autonomist Parties and the Challenges of Representation (pp. 171–193). Wien: Braumüller.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pallaver, G. (2014). South Tyrol’s Changing Political System: From Dissociative on the Road to Associative Conflict Resolution. Nationalities Papers, 42(3), 376–398.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Pallaver, G. (2018). Südtirols Parteien: Analysen, Trends und Perspektiven. Bozen: Raetia.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pallaver, G. (2019). Kontinuität und Wandel. In A. Engl et al. (Eds.), Politika 2019—Südtiroler Jahrbuch für Politik (pp. 154–182). Bozen: Raetia.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pallaver, G., & Brunazzo, M. (2017). Italy: The Pendulum of ‘Federal’ Regionalism. In F. Karlhofer & G. Pallaver (Eds.), Federal Power-Sharing in Europe (pp. 149–180). Baden-Baden: Nomos.

    Google Scholar 

  • Panzano, G. (2018). Power-Sharing Executives in Northern Ireland and South Tyrol: Theories, Structures, Practices and Political Stability. Rivista di Dirtti Comparati, 2, 136–183. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.diritticomparati.it/rivista/power-sharing-executives-northern-ireland-south-tyrol-theories-structures-practices-political-stability/.

  • Parolari, S., & Zwilling, C. (2018). A Bibliography on the Autonomy of South Tyrol. Bozen: EURAC Research. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from http://www.eurac.edu/de/research/Publications/Pages/publicationdetails.aspx?pubId= 0103751&pubType=E.

    Google Scholar 

  • Provincial Statistics Institute. (2019). South Tyrol in Figures 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://astat.provinz.bz.it/de/suedtirol-in-zahlen.asp.

  • Sandri, G. (2012). Ethno-linguistic Identity and Party Politics in the Aosta Valley. Ethnopolitics, 11(3), 287–317.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Scantamburlo, M. (2016). Selbstbestimmung und Parteien in Südtirol: Territoriale und Europäische Parteistrategien zwischen Autonomie und Sezession. European Diversity and Autonomy Papers 3. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://bia.unibz.it/handle/10863/7383?locale-attribute=de.

  • Scantamburlo, M., & Pallaver, G. (2014). The 2013 South Tyrolean Election: The End of SVP Hegemony. Regional and Federal Studies, 24(4), 493–503.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Second Autonomy Statute. (1972). Retrieved March 4, 2020, from http://www.provinz.bz.it/politik-recht-aussenbeziehungen/autonomie/autonomiestatut.asp.

  • SVP. (2016, May 7). Grundsatzprogramm, genehmigt durch die 62. ordentliche Landesversammlung. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.svp.eu/de/programm-931.html.

  • UN Resolution No. 1497 (XV) of 31 October. (1960). The Status of the German-Speaking Element in the Province of Bolzano (Bozen); Implementation of Paris Agreement of 5 September 1946. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/15/ares15.htm.

  • UN Resolution No. 1661 (XVI) of 28 November. (1961). The Status of the German-Speaking Element in the Province of Bolzano (Bozen). Retrieved March 4, 2020, from http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/16/ares16.htm.

  • Vampa, D., & Scantamburlo, M. (2020). The ‘Alpine Region’ and Political Change: Lessons from Bavaria and South Tyrol (1946–2018). Regional and Federal Studies. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13597566.2020.1722946.

  • Woelk, J. (2013). South Tyrol Is (Not) Italy: A Special Case in a (De)federalizing System. L’Europe en Formation, 3(369), 126–137. Retrieved March 4, 2020, from https://www.cairn.info/revue-l-europe-en-formation-2013-3-page-126.htm.

  • Wolff, S. (2008). Complex Power Sharing as Conflict Resolution: South Tyrol in Comparative Perspective. In J. Woelk, F. Palermo, & J. Marko (Eds.), Tolerance Through Law: Self Governance and Group Rights in South Tyrol (pp. 329–370). Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Elisabeth Alber .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Alber, E. (2021). South Tyrol’s Model of Conflict Resolution: Territorial Autonomy and Power-Sharing. In: Keil, S., McCulloch, A. (eds) Power-Sharing in Europe. Federalism and Internal Conflicts. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53590-2_8

Download citation