Territorial Autonomy and European National Minorities: South Tyrol, the Basque Country and the Aland Islands

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  • 1 Director of the Institute of Human Rights at the University of Deusto (The Basque Country).
  • 2 Researcher at the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (South Tyrol).

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  • 1 In the Basque language, EuskalHerrin (EH); in Spanish, Pais Vasco; In French, Pays Basque.

  • 2 'Upper Navarra refers to the actual Community of Navarra while 'Lower Navarra is the ancient part of the Kingdom of Navarra in the Northern part of the Pyrenees or French Basque Country. We will refer to historical Upper Navarra as'Navarra. 3 The name is different in Basque and Spanish versions, meaning respectively 'Basque Party of God and Old Laws' and `Basque Nationalist Party'.

  • 4 Euskadi TaAskatasuna (ETA) literally means: `Basque Fatherland and Freedom'. 5 See, for example, James Barros, 7he iland Island Question. Its Settlement by the League of Nations, (New Haven, 1968); Harry Jansson and Johannes Salminen (eds.), The SecondAland Islands Question -Autononry or Independence? (l\lariehamn, 2002).. 6 Thomas l\1usgrave, SelfDetermination and National Minorities (Oxford, 1997),32-3.

  • 7 Ibid, 36-7. 8 Act on the Autonomy of Aland, 1991, at http://www.finlex.fi/pdf/saadkaan/E9911144.PDF. 9 The Treaty of London was signed by Italy, Great Britain, France and Russia in April 1915. According to the treaty Italy was supposed to receive as a compensation for its joining the war not only South Tyrol but also the coastline of Istria and Dalmatia as well as some smaller areas. 10 Giinter Rautz, Die Sprachenrecbte der Minderheiten, ein Rechtsvergleicb zwischen Osterreich und Italien (Baden-Baden, 1999), 191. 11 Ladins are the oldest and smallest language group of the province. Reto-Romanic, Ladin culture is concen- trated particularly in the five Dolomite valleys of Val Gardena, Livinallongo, Fassa, Ampezzo and Val Badia. Christoph Perathoner, Die Dolomitenladiner 1848-1918, (Bozen, 1998), 23-5; Government of the Province of Bolzano-Siidtirol (ed.), South Tyrol - an Inrioduction (Bolzano, 2002). 12 See, for instance, Rolf Steininger, Sudtirol im 20. Jahrhundert (Innsbruck 1997), 153; Umberto Corsini and Rudolf Lill,flltofldige 1918-1946 (Bolzano, 1988), 261. 13 In South Tyrol 163,777 signatures were collected calling for a plebiscite and in Innsbruck a huge demonstra- tion was held on 5 May 1946.

  • 14 The text of the treaty can be found in German at the following web site: http://zis.uibiLac.at/stirol- doku/ dokumente/19460905.html. 15 Antony Alcock, The South Tyralllutonamy -!1 Sbort Introduction (Bolzano, 2001), http://www.provinz.bz.itl aprov/publ/publ�etreso.asp?PRES_ID=1899; Melissa Magliana, The Autonomous Province of South TyroL--4 1 Model of Self-Governance? (Bolzano, 2000), 24-42; Emma Lantschner,'Breve Sintesi della Storia dell'Alto Adige', in Joseph Marko, Sergio Ortino and Francesco Palermo (eds.), L'ordinamento speciale della Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano ( Verona, 2001), 14-33, at 32.

  • 16 It is important to note that the five traditional Ladin-speaking valleys were divided by the Fascist regime in 1924 and they are still divided into three different provinces: Badia and Gardena remain in the province of South Tyrol, but Fassa was incorporated into the autonomous province of Trento, while Livinallongo- Fodom and Ampezzo are part of the Province of Belluno (Region of Veneto). As a consequence, Ladins living in different provinces are enjoying different level of protection. Manuela Zappe, Das Etniscbe Zusam- menleben in Sudtirol, Europaische Hochschulschriften Reihe XXI (Frankfurt am Main,1996),103-4, 271. 17 Melissa Magliana, 1he Autonomous Province ..., 24-5.

  • 18 Teija Tiilikainen, 1he Ä/and Islands, Finland and European Security (Mariehamn, 2002), 46-7. 19 Thomas Musgrave, SelfDetermination ..., 22-4. 20 Frank Horn, 'Minorities in Aland with Special Reference to their Educational Rights', in Lauri Hanni- kainen and Frank Hom (eds.), flutonomy and Demilitarisation in International La2u: The Aland Islands in a Changing Europe ('Ihe Hague, 1997),153.

  • 21 Approximately 95% of the Alanders speak Swedish as their mother tongue. There are just over a thousand Finns, less than 5% of the local population, living on the islands who have declared Finnish as their mother tongue. 22 Dag Anckar, Aland as a Microstate. The Independence Scenario', in Harry Jansson and Johannes Salminen (eds.), The Second.41and Islands Question ..., 224-5. 23 Basque is not an Indo-European language although the vocabulary displays a strong influence of Latin, Spanish, and French words.

  • 24 A municipality in Finland becomes bilingual if the number of speakers of the other language reaches 8% of the total population or is at least 3,000. However, a bilingual municipality only becomes monolingual if the number of speakers of the other language decreases to 6% or falls below 3,000. 25 Farimah Daftary, 'Insular Autonomy: A Framework for Conflict Settlement? .A Comparative Study of Corsica and the Aland Islands', ECMI working paper no.9, October 2000,14. 26 Government of the Province of Bolzano-Siidtirol, South Tyrol..., chapter `Schools and Further Education; Jens Woelk, "Ihe Case of South Tyrol: Lessons for Conflict Resolution?', paper presented at the 5' Annual Convention, Association for the Study of Nationalities, on Identity and the State: Nationalism and Sover- eignty in a Changing \Vorld, Columbia University, NYC, 13 April 2000.

  • 27 The three models are known as A, B and D since the letter C is not used in the Basque language. 28 Statistics and Research Aland (ASUB), Aland in Figures, at http://www.asub.aland.fi/index.con. 29 Government of the Province of Bolzano-Sudtirol, South Tyrol..., chapter `Employment'. 30 The average unemployment rate in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige is 2.1% while the general national unemployment rate in Italy is approximately 9%. Even more striking is the difference between the unem- ployment rate among young people (people under 25) which in Trentino Alto-Adige is 4.2% and 28% in Italy as a whole, Italian National Statistical Institute, at http://www.istat.it/index.htm and Provincial Statistics Institute, at http://www.provinz.bz.it/service/download/e/siz2002.pdf. 31 For statistics on the Basque Country, see http://www.eustat.es/document/en_cifras_i.html (Statistics from the Basque Autonomous government) and http://www.map.es/po-autonomica/ca-socioeco/princpv.htm (Statistics from the Spanish government).

  • 32 The only other autonomy arrangement in Finland is the limited cultural autonomy granted to the indig- enous Sami people in their home area in Lapland. (Law no. 973/1995, adopted in July 1995). 33 Constitution ofltalv, Article 5, the text of the Constitution can be found on the IRIS data base at http: //www.eurac.edu/miris.

  • 34 Apart from Trentino-Alto Adige, Sicily, Sardinia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the Aosta Valley are also special regions according to the Italian Constitution of 1947. 35 The Gruber-De Gasperi Agreement, see section III.E. 36 This word has no clear translation into English. In terms of public law it refers to the special regime enjoyed until the nineteenth century by the provinces or territories of Biscay, Alava, Gipuzkoa and Navarra. 37 Additional disposition: 'The Constitution protects and respects the historic rights of the territories with fueros. The general updating of the fuero system shall be carried out, when appropriate, within the frame- work of the Constitution and the Statutes of Autonomy.'1his is, for instance, the legal basis of the political power of the Basque provinces in tax law and tax management, roads and traffic and in police forces.

  • 38 Only persons possessing regional citizenship in Aland may vote and stand in such elections.

  • 39 This arrangement came into existence due to mutual understanding, not as a part of the negotiation con- cerning the Act of Autonomy. 40 However, there was an important ruling of the Italian Constitutional Court (n.438/1993) according which the 4% threshold for political representation of political parties in national parliament was lifted in order to guarantee political representation to German- and Ladin-speaking minorities. Giuseppe Avolio, 'Gli organi statutari. Funzioni, composizione e sistema elettorale'in Joseph Marko, Sergio Ortino and Francesco Palermo (eds.), Lordinamento speciale ..., 398-424, at 406-7. 41 The Nordic Council, formed in 1952, is a forum for interparliamentary cooperation. Members of this Coun- cil are: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Faeroe Islands, Greenland and Aland Islands. 42 This 'Government Commissioner' supervises the province and functions as a link between central adminis- tration and province. Melissa Magliana, The Autonomous Province ..., 51; Antonio Lamps, '11 Commissario del Governo per la Provincia di Bolzano' in Joseph Marko, Sergio Ortino and Francesco Palermo (eds.), L ordinamento speciale ..., 558-64.

  • -t3 Act on the Autonomy of Aland, Chapter 8, Governor and the gland delegation. 44 The joint committee on the regional level has twelve members 'of which six shall represent the state, two the Regional Parliament, two the Regional Parliament ofTrento and two that of Bolzano. Three of them must belong to the Italian speaking group'. The joint committee appointed to autonomous Province of Bolzano has six members of whom three shall represent the state and three the Province. One of the representatives of the sate must belong to German-speaking group, respectively one representative of the Province must be Italian. Special Statute for Trentino-Alto Adige, Article 107, the text can be found in the MIRIS data base at http://wvv.eurac.edu/miris; Francesco Palermo, 'Ruolo e natura delle Commissioni paritetiche e delle norme di attuazione, in Joseph Marko, Sergio Ortino and Francesco Palermo (eds.), Lordinamento special . 826--t-t.

  • 45 However, the concept of self-determination has been widely used in South Tyrol and, mainly, in the Basque Country. Indeed, the Basque parliament passed a political declaration in 1990 by an overwhelming majority stating the right of Basque people to self-determination. 46 Francesco Palermo, Die Auflenbeziehungen der italienischen Regionen in rechtsvergleichender Sicht (Frankfurt am Main, 1999), 37-8; Gunther Pallaver, 'I�Euroregione: un progetto a cavallo tra politica e diritto', in Joseph Marko, Sergio Ortino and Francesco Palermo (eds.), Lordinamento speciale ..., 943-58, at 943. 47 Article 78, Special Statute forTrentino-Alto Adige. 48 Ibid., Article 69. 49 Melissa Magliana, 7he Autonomous Province ..., 52-3.

  • 50 Act on the Autonomy of Aland, Chapter 7. 51 Farimah Daftary,'Insular Autonomy ...', 45; Act on Autonomy of land, Section 32. 52 Article 7 of the Statute.

  • 53 Act on the Autonomy of Aland, Chapter 2. 54 Article 3 of the Spanish Constitution. 55 Article 100 of the Statute of Trentino-Alto Adige.

  • 56 This agreement is often quoted as an example of a longstanding bilateral trean. However, the Äland Agree- ment was not a legally binding treaty and it developed only later into international customary rule seen to oblige Finland to safeguard the Alanders' autonomy Kristian l\lmtti,'1he Aland Model - its Background and Special Characteristics', in Harry Jansson and Johannes Salminen (eds.), 77e Second Aland Islands Ques- tion...,110. For the text of the agreement see, for instance, Hurst Hannum (ed.), Documents on Autonomy and 'Minority Rights (Dordrecht 1993),141-3. 57 Act on the Autonomy of Aland, Chapter 4. 58 Ibid, Chapter 9, Section 58. 59 Markku Suksi,'Autonomy and Self-Government by International Decision', in Harry Jansson and Johannes Salminen (eds.), The Second Aland Islands Question ..., 84-5.

  • 60 When we use the term 'nationalist ideology', we normally refer to an aspiration to sovereignty that can be appreciated in several nationalities or national minorities that do not enjoy their own political frame- work nor belong to their respective kin-state. 'State ideology' in the sense of the maintenance of territorial integrity without consideration for the wishes for self-determination of these communities can be also considered as nationalistic, but this expression is not normally used in this sense. We will refer to this type of aspiration as 'unionist'.

  • 61 Finland declared itself independent on 6 December 1917. Russia's revolutionary Bolshevik government recognized Finnish independence on 31 December. The political situation in Finland became strained and led to civil war between government troops (so-called 'whites') and socialists ('reds').'Ihe clement of a war of independence was present as well since the Finnish government forces had to drive away Russian troops still located on Finnish territory. The civil war ended in May 1918 with the victory of the `whites'. The main outline of Finnish history as well as other material dealing with Finland's history can be found on the inter- net at Virtual Finland, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, http://virtual.finland.fi/finfo/english/hist.html.

  • 62 The term `rejoin' is commonly used in literature dealing with the Alands Islands. However, from the histori- cal point of view the term is slightly problematic. Aland formed its own administrative region or was ruled from the Finnish mainland for centuries. It was part of the Finnish Grand Duchy under Russian supremacy 1809-1917. Sweden, or Finland-Sweden, as an entity to which Aland helonged for centuries, no longer existed after 1809. Aland was a part of the Finnish state which declared its independence from Russia in December 1917. 63 Kristian Myntti, `The Aland Model...', 112. 64 See, for instance, Sia Spilipoulou Akermark, 'Steps Towards a Minority Policy in Sweden' in Snezana Trifu- novska (ed.), Minority Rights in Europe. European Minorities and Languages (The Hague, 2001),103; Jarmo Lainio,'European Linguistic Diversity - for whom? The Cases of Finland and Sweden', Mercator Working Papers 7/2002, 29-31.

  • 65 Alcock mentions the term apartheid in his text when describing the ethnical exclusion taking place in South Tyrolean society. Antony Alcock, The South TyrolAutonomy ...,17. See as well critical article by Thomas Kager, 'South Tyrol: Mitigated hut not Resolved', 1(3) OnlineJournal of Peace and Conflict Resolution (1998).

  • 66 In March 2003, Batasuna was banned by the Spanish Supreme Court, according to a new act on political parties, passed by the Spanish Parliament in 2002 with the clear aim of banning this concrete formation. The main urrionist parties supported the approval of this act, while Basque national parties and the United Left opposed it in vain. The act was appealed by the Basque government before the Constitutional Court on the grounds of violation of freedom of association and political rights but this appeal was rejected. The decision taken by the Supreme Court is expected to be challenged before the European Court of Human Rights. 67 This can be observed in all the comments made by the UN Human Rights Committee and UN Committee against torture in the Spanish reports. The same can be said with respect to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture. The last report published on the situation in Spain refers very closely and harshly to the conditions suffered by many Basque citizens; see http://www.cpt.int/ en/reports/inf2003-22en.htm.

  • 68 Recently a new political structure was created under the name Autodeterminaziorako Bilgunea (AUB, Grouping for Self-determination) to take part in the local and provincial polls of May 2003. However, the lists of candidates presented by this formation have also been banned, since the state bodies think this is a mere continuation of the already illegal Batasuna. Nowadays there is no legal political formation that can be considered as a clear representative of this sector.

  • 69 See an analysis of the Basque conflict in Xabier Etxeberria et al., Derecbo de autodeterminacion y realidad vasca (Vitoria, 2003). 70 See, for instance, Thomas Kager,'South Tyrol ...'; Melissa Magliana, The Autonomous Province ..., 24-5. 71 Ibid , 53.

  • 72 Jens Woellc, 'Reconciliation Impossible or (only) Undesirable? South Tyrolean Experiences', paper pre- sented at the conference 'Ethnic Diversity', Graz 1-2 March 2002, at http://www.peaceproject.at/ PPdocs /South Tirol study_Woelk.pdf.

  • 73 The Basque president (a member of PNV), has recently announced an initiative to propose a new status of free association with Spain in which the Basque Country would enjoy new powers and the right to decide its final political framework in a referendum. The proposal has been strongly rejected from the start by the Spanish unionist parties. 74 This is supposed to be the political branch of ETA. As we mentioned already, this party was banned in 2003. 75 EA (Basque Solidarity) is a centre-left wing party that was created in 1986 after an important split in the PNV The PNV and EA went in a coalition to the last regional polls in 2001, obtaining 43% of the votes, the best percentage ever reached by any political formation in the Basque Autonomous Community. 76 We could include here some other minor political parties on the left, like Aralar or Batzarre.

  • 77 Melissa Magliana, TheAutonomous Province ..., 146-7. 78 Jens Woellc, 'Reconciliation Impossible ..., 5-6.

  • 79 There have been two judgments issued by the ECJ touching on the field of language rights within South Tyrol's autonomy regulations. Neither of the rulings challenged the autonomy provisions but extend their scope. Ibid.,10. 80 This kind of idea would form sort of matrix for a shift towards shared society and 'civic nationalism',Thomas Kager, `South Tyrol ... ; Joseph Marko,'L'Alto Adige. Un `modello' per la composizione dei conflitti etnici?' in Joseph Marko, Sergio Ortino and Francesco Palermo (eds.), Lordinamento speciale ..., 959-84, at 982-3.

  • 81 Even though Sweden's policy towards Aland has not been active during the last decades its existence has an importance for Alanders and influence on Finland's policy.

  • 82 We refer to an international presence at an intergovernmental level and consequently exclude sub-state repre- sentation, e.g., the European Committee of Regions, in which obviously all the three areas are represented.

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