The special Autonomy of Trentino

The special autonomy of Trentino (and of neighbouring Alto Adige-Südtirol, which together with Trentino comprises the Autonomous Region of Trentino Alto Adige) was born from an agreement between Italy and Austria, signed in Paris on 5 September 1946 by the then Italian Prime Minister and Foreign minister, Alcide Degasperi, and the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karl Gruber. The text of the Statute went on to be approved by the Italian Constituent Assembly (in charge of drafting the Constitution of the post-fascist Republic of Italy) and subsequently became Constitutional Law No. 5, passed on 26 February 1948). The people of Trentino and the Südtirol usually refer to this Statute as the First Statute of Autonomy, to distinguish it from the Second Statute, adopted in 1972. But in reality the autonomy of a border province like Trentino cannot be born from one day to the next, and nor can it be the fruit of a legislative act alone (although, as we have seen, it is of a constitutional nature based on a peace agreement between two sovereign states, signed in the aftermath of two world wars). The origin of our autonomy goes back many centuries, and is made up of complex events, traditions, civic customs and rules which the communities have developed over time and jealously guarded throughout the course of their many political and social upheavals. And it is this that explains the attitude of the people of Trentino to the question of self-rule, to doing things their own way: it is not a case of selfish isolation, far from it – as a matter of fact, they have always maintained a dialogue with the world beyond their frontiers, from the remote border regions to the Government in Rome, and indeed to the European Union.