Status Quo Side: Italy
Non-Status Quo Side: Austria
Conflict Type: Interstate
Issues in Dispute: Ethnic, Governance, Territory
Italy in 1948 amalgamated Bolzano Province, whose German-speaking majority had been assured a degree of autonomy by the 1946 Italian Peace Treaty, with Italy's Trentino Province. Austria charged discrimination, and agitation for more autonomy sparked disturbances in the late 1950's. On March 4 1959, at the UNGA, Austria charged Italian violation of the Treaty and endorsed a call by the local People's Party (SVP) -- a popular, strongly nationalistic group -- for an autonomous province. At the 1960 UNGA both agreed to negotiate, but talks deadlocked on January 27, 1961.
Violence against the Italian installations in Bolzano and anti-Austrian unrest in Italy occurred until February 19 1961. As talks renewed in May and again in June, bombing incidents were ascribed to extremists including Austrian and German neo-Nazis seeking reunification with Austria. Italy refused to compromise unless Austria acted to close its border to infiltrators, and would accept only ICJ adjudication. Austria sought international mediation and guarantees for the region. Six weeks of violence with Italian casualties occurred in 1966 when agreement seemed close. On June 29 1967, the European Economic Community (EEC) prove it was not a base for activists.
A Copenhagen agreement provided for reversing over a period of 4 years the merger of Bolzano with Trentino, renamed it South Tyrol, and provided greater autonomy with disputes to be referred to the ICJ.
Austria formally acknowledged that Italy had fully carried out measures to protect the rights of the German-speaking minority.
Copyright © 1999 Lincoln P. Bloomfield and Allen Moulton