Italy-Austria crisis over South Tyrol citizens’ citizenship / A million Welsh speakers in 2050

15 to 20 December

Sign in the city of Meran: "South Tyrol is not Italy"
Sign in the city of Meran: "South Tyrol is not Italy"
WEEKLY ROUNDUP. A decision by the new Austrian government to grant Austrian citizenship to German- and Ladin-speaking South Tyroleans who request it has triggered a crisis between Vienna and Rome. The decision follows a decades-long demand by German-speaking South Tyrolean parties. The Welsh government has put forward new measures to achieve the goal that, in 2050, one million Welsh people speak the country’s own language. Meanwhile, pro-Amazigh and anti-government protests in Kabylia are going on, police forces repressing them. In Zanzibar, football fans are celebrating the performance of their national team in an international African cup.


South Tyrol’s German-speaking parties welcome dual citizenship. The new Austrian government —a coalition of conservative ÖVP and far right FPÖ— will allow German-speaking and Ladin-speaking South Tyroleans to request Austrian citizenship without having to renounce their current Italian passports. Their government program says the measure is based on “the spirit of European integration” as well as on Austria’s “protective” role towards the German-speaking population of South Tyrol. New Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz has vowed to implement the decision “only in close cooperation with Italy.” The Italian government has criticized the measure, describing it as “ethno-nationalist” and anticipating that it could trigger “very serious effects” such as “in the Balkans.”

German-speaking parties of South Tyrol have for decades demanded such a measure be implemented. The South Tyrolean People’s Party (SVP) underlines that the decision favours a closer European union, while at the same time it strengthens South Tyrol’s bonds with Austria. South Tyrolean Freedom considers it a “historic” milestone. The Libertarians recall that people will be entitled to ask for the Austrian passport on a completely voluntary basis.

German-speaking parties hold 27 of 35 seats in the Parliament of the South Tyrol, an autonomous province of Italy that belonged to Austria until 1918. Those parties favour closer links to the rest of the Tyrol and Austria. SVP strives for enlarged autonomy for South Tyrol autonomy within Italy, while South Tyrolean Freedom and The Libertarians advocate secession —either by rejoining Austria or establishing a new independent state.


A million Welsh speakers in 2050. The goal is set by the Welsh government, which has unveiled a four-year plan in the field of education it hopes will help the nation move closer to that figure. The measures are part of a broader plan, unveiled half a year ago, which is based on three pillars: increasing the number of Welsh speakers, increasing the use of the language, and creating more favourable conditions for its use in daily life. Main pro-Welsh grassroots group Cymdeithas has reacted to the four-year plan by saying it is not ambitious enough. Cymdeithas believes Welsh-medium education should be extended to most pupils by 2030 in order to achieve the one million speakers’ goal in 2050. However, government plans point to the figure of 30% pupils receiving their education through the medium of Welsh in 2030.

Repression against Kabyle protesters. The police has prevented students in Tuvirett from demonstrating against the Algerian government and for the Amazigh language. Local media speak of police “repression”, violence against students and a “wave of arrests.” Pro-independence MAK party says Tuvirett is under a “state of siege.” The protests began three weeks ago, as reported in ourlastWeekly Roundup.

Zanzibar national team players new national heroes. The men’s team has finished second in the CECAFA Cup, losing the final to Kenya at penalty shoots. Even so, the team’s performance has been cheered on the streets of Zanzibar as if it were a win. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous island of Tanzania. Its national team is not a member of FIFA, but it does participate in the annually held CECAFA Cup, which brings together East African national teams.

New step to make Cornish national identity visible. A Cornwall Council delegation has met with the Office for National Statistics demanding that, in the forms of the 2021 census, a specific tick box be provided so that any person can declare his or her Cornish national identity. In the 2011 forms, boxes for “English”, “Welsh”, “Scottish”, “Northern Irish” and “British” were included. People wishing to declare a different national identity —such as Cornish— needed to write it themselves below. In Cornwall, 14 percent of respondents declared a Cornish national identity. The Cornwall Council argues that, since Cornish were recognized as a national minority in the United Kingdom in 2014, they should have their own tick box.