Lopatka: “South Tyrolean autonomy must not be undermined even in times of economic crisis”
State Secretary outlines Austria’s position to a delegation of the South Tyrolean Parliament
Vienna, 23 November 2012 – “South Tyrolean autonomy and all the achievements linked to it are internationally recognised and have an important model function. It is therefore unthinkable that these achievements could be undermined by way of budget cuts – even in times of economic crisis. Wherever the rights that have been guaranteed to the people of South Tyrol are being questioned, they will be able to rely on Austria’s support. I have also underlined this during my talks in Rome last week and I was assured by the Italian side that the foundations of South Tyrolean autonomy will not be touched”, said State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka after the visit of a 14-member delegation of the South Tyrolean parliament, led by Parliamentary President Mauro Minniti and Vice President Julia Unterberger.
“All ethnic groups living in the South Tyrol benefit from South Tyrolean autonomy. It provides a comprehensive guarantee for the rights of the German-speaking minority and has contributed to this minority being one of the very few that has actually grown in size over recent years. A tangible sign of the success of South Tyrolean autonomy is the region’s unemployment rate, which at 3.7% is particularly low when compared to other European regions”, Lopatka continued. Furthermore, South Tyrol, with its per-capita GDP of 148% of the EU average, is among the TOP-20 of 271 European regions.
The South Tyrolean delegation reported on the effects that the budget cuts implemented by the Italian government are having on the country’s autonomous regions and on South Tyrol in particular. The talks also touched upon the law on place names that has recently been passed by the South Tyrolean parliament with votes by both German- and Italian-speaking delegates. This last remaining question from the Autonomy Statute from 1972 was finally resolved by means of a Provincial Law back in September. However, the Italian government has lodged an appeal against the law with the constitutional court.
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