Anger over dual passport plan for South Tyroleans
Italy's Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi has cancelled a bilateral meeting with his Austrian counterpart in response to anger over Vienna's plans to offer Austrian passports to German-speaking inhabitants of South Tyrol. The scheme has been on the table in Vienna since the government took office in late 2017. Italian and Austrian commentators rake the idea over the coals.
Vienna awakening old nationalist sentiment
Austria's government is adding fuel to the fire, Vladimiro Zagrebelsky, a judge at the European Court of Human Rights from 2001 to 2010 writes in La Stampa:
“It's easy to predict that the Austrian side will appeal to the character of the Tirolean people on both sides of the border and the people's right to self-determination, deliberately creating a conflict situation. ... It is not an exaggeration when cosmopolitan Europeans who are 'fatherlandless' in the positive sense of the word remind us - in view of the reawakening nationalism in Europe - that it inevitably leads to conflict, and that the process of European integration has led to the historical achievement of securing 70 years of peace after centuries of war in Europe.”
Austria's government is just fishing for votes, Der Standard explains:
“As is typical with populists, they come up with an idea that they think will be popular and present the simplest solutions for the problem. Just as Donald Trump wants to get rid of the Mexicans and drugs in the US simply by building a wall, and Matteo Salvini wants to force the EU to take in refugees simply by refusing to let rescue ships dock in Italy, the FPÖ and the ÖVP clearly believe that they'll be able to expand their electorate by tens of thousands of grateful voters by giving them back their 'old' homeland.”