July 14, 2024

Italy’s regions are to gain more autonomy from central government, after parliament approved a bill on Wednesday that allows regions to request the transfer of responsibilities from the state in order to manage certain areas themselves.

The controversial law, which was proposed by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, cleared the final legislative hurdle in the Chamber of Deputies.

Five of the country’s 20 regions already have partial autonomy – the three regions of Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Valle d’Aosta in the north, as well as the large islands of Sicily and Sardinia. They will have even wider powers under the new arrangements.

The northern regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna are also in favour of the new law.

The less affluent regions in the south, however, fear that the state could withdraw from important portfolios such as health and education and that the population in the economically underdeveloped part of the country could experience disadvantages as a result.

There is great concern that they will receive less money from central government in future and that the wealth gap between northern and southern Italy will widen further.

The opposition, meanwhile, is worried that the law will lead to the “disintegration of Italy.”

There were chaotic scenes in the chamber during a debate on the measure last week. A member of parliament from the opposition Five Star Movement was pushed by lawmakers from the governing parties in a heated dispute and fell to the floor.

Italy's Minister of Enterprises Adolfo Urso reacts during Question time at the Chamber of deputies. Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse via ZUMA Press/dpaItaly's Minister of Enterprises Adolfo Urso reacts during Question time at the Chamber of deputies. Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse via ZUMA Press/dpa

Italy’s Minister of Enterprises Adolfo Urso reacts during Question time at the Chamber of deputies. Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse via ZUMA Press/dpa

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