The demand has been supported for years by pro-autonomy and pro-independence parties of South Tyrol, a mostly German-speaking autonomous province of Italy that was part of Austria until 1918.
South Tyrolean independence parties have welcomed the proposal, according to which the Austrian government should open talks with Italy to agree on how dual nationality could be extended to South Tyroleans.
According to the resolution passed in the Austrian Parliament, only after such talks are held should the Austrian government present a bill in order to implement the measure. The resolution recalls Austria’s “protective” role towards German- and Ladin-speaking populations in South Tyrol, thus eventual talks could be limited to those two groups.
The Italian government, however, has opposed the measure for years, and has no plans to negotiate on the issue. Rome believes it makes no sense to grant dual nationality, as freedom of movement within the EU for Austrian and Italian citizens alike already exists.
The issue triggered a bilateral crisis in 2017, after the Austrian government announced it sought to grant citizenship to any German- and Ladin-speaking South Tyrolean who would request it. The Austrian government, in the end, did not pursue with the proposal.
Criticism has been sparked on both sides of the border, as some believe the newly-passed resolution is a mere electoral manoeuvre by the two Austrian right-wing parties supporting it (ÖVP and FPÖ) days before the 29 September election, given the fact that those parties have been in government in Austria since 2017 but have not implemented the proposal.