• Thursday, Sep 24, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:01 am

EU parliament chief fears spread of small nations as Italy votes

  • Published at 09:19 pm October 22nd, 2017
EU parliament chief fears spread of small nations as Italy votes

European Parliament chief Antonio Tajani said Europe should "fear" the spread of small nations as Spain struggled Sunday with the Catalonia crisis and the Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto voted in referendums on greater autonomy.

In an interview with the Rome daily Il Messaggero, the Italian politician said Europe must "of course fear" the proliferation of small nations.

"That's why nobody in Europe intends to recognise Catalonia," he said.

"Even (British Prime Minister) Theresa May, in the full throes of Brexit, said the United Kingdom would never recognise Catalonia."

"Spain is by its history a unified state, with many autonomous regions, with diverse populations who also speak different languages but who are part of a unified state."

"It is not by degrading nationhood that we reinforce Europe," he said.

The referendums in Lombardy, which includes Milan, and Veneto, where Venice is located, are taking place in regions that together account for nearly a third of Italy's economic output and a quarter of its population.

Voters are being asked if their in favour of their region gaining "additional forms and particular conditions of autonomy."

If approved, the outcome is only the beginning of a process which could, over time, lead to powers being devolved from Rome.

Secessionist sentiment in the two wealthy regions is restricted to fringe groups with little following.

Tajani, who belongs to the centre right European People's Party, took care to distinguish between Catalonia's chaotic independence referendum, deemed illegal by the Spanish government, and Sunday's votes in Italy.

"First of all these two referendums are legitimate, that was not the case in Catalonia."

"In Spain, it is not about autonomy, but a proclamation of independence in defiance of the rule of law and against the Spanish constitution."

Lombardy sends $64 billion more in taxes to Rome than it gets back in public spending. Veneto's net contribution is $15.5 billion.

The two regions would like to roughly halve those contributions - a concession the cash-strapped state, labouring under a mountain of debt, can ill afford.

The two regional presidents, both members of the far-right Northern League, plan to ask for more powers over infrastructure, the environment, health and education.

They also want new ones relating to security issues and immigration, steps which would require changes to the constitution.

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail