Two regions in Italy, namely Lombardy (Capital Milan) and Veneto (capital Venice) voted heavily for autonomy within Italy on 22 October 2017. Although only 40% and 57% of citizens voted, the vote for autonomy was massive for both, above 95% (preliminary counts).
These two regions represent respectively 20% and 10% of Italy’s economy, and want to use the referenda to demand Italy a larger say on their governance, indeed autonomy, not only in terms of taxes and public services, but also security, including immigration.
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As we pointed out previously, the impact of the European Union very political existence and dynamics is starting to become apparent in terms of the destruction or mildly the weakening of the modern state and one of its children the nations in their current boundaries.
If we also look at Catalonia (see corresponding signals in the Horizon Scanning Board), we start seeing an emerging outline in terms of the ideology and way the new “imagined communities”, to use Benedict Anderson’s concept, define themselves. It would seem we are witnessing a mix between the plutocratic ideology (profits and material wealth are paramount) promoted since at least the end of the Cold War, a return to old, historically constructed regional entities, reinforced by “nationalist” narratives, with a return to a cold “national interest” perspective, redefined along the novel boundaries.
On the shorter term and directly, the way not only the Italian State but also the other poorer regions will react, must be monitored.
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The issue must be kept under watch as the consequences abound. It will probably impact not only the European Union as an institution and as a governing body but also the Euro, and other European people. At a deeper level, it is the very modern-nation state and its nation that is also being transformed. We may particularly wonder how the multiple threats, first among them the impact of climate change, may be handled by the emerging new network of polities. In terms of foreign policy and international relations, how will these polities fare when faced with China, its ever consolidated state power, its One Belt, One Road initiative and its developing giant corporate sector such as in the digital domain, with an increasingly influential Russia, or with an uncertain yet trying to reassert its dominance America. In that regard, for European new polities and entities, we have for example the problems of dealing with security and defence considering NATO, or of handling the bullying regime of American sanctions.
What we are witnessing is likely the slow making of the new socio-politico model that will underpin our future political order, as we suggested when we put the future of the nation-state (and thus of “liberal democracies”) under watch.
Two of Italy’s richest northern regions are holding referendums to ask voters if they want more autonomy. Lombardy, which is home to Italy’s financial capital Milan, and the Veneto region around Venice together account for about 30% of national wealth.
Voters in the wealthy northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto were deciding Sunday if they want to seek greater autonomy from Rome, riding a tide of self-determination that is sweeping global politics, most vociferously in Catalonia.
Featured image: Public Domain – Northern Italy, 1796 (for the campaigns of 1796-1805), The Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1926