MOSCOW, May 15 (RIA Novosti), Daria Chernyshova – The Italian government is ignoring Venetians’ bid for self-determination just as the European Union and United States are ignoring the Ukrainian regions’ desire to federalize, a professor of European history at the University of Insubria told RIA Novosti.
“They [Italian government] ignore us. They are completely focused on the European election, and they think that we don’t exist. They are not recognizing the validity of the referendum which is basically the same as the EU and US are doing in Ukraine,” Paolo Bernardini said Thursday.
“In Ukraine, there were referendums and most of the people voted to create independent republics, but the EU and US just ignore that and say there is no legal validation,” he said.
Venetians are going ahead with their bid for self-determination and are organizing public events in support on a daily basis. On Wednesday, Venetian entrepreneurs gathered in Campo San Martino, Padua in support of the region’s independence.
The participation of entrepreneurs signifies the growing scale of the movement. Nicola Gardin, one of the founders of Indipendenza Veneta, said the “force in Veneto is the economy.”
“When entrepreneurs are moving, it is important. Not only the people, but entrepreneurs ask for independence,” Gardin told RIA Novosti.
“Every day there is something going on, because we are really fed up with the Italian state, so almost every night there are events – protests, marches etc.,” Bernardini said. “The situation is turning into a tragedy – people are killing themselves every day – there are suicides, people are desperate, the situation is very bad.”
A large-scale event will be held on June 14 in Castel Brando, where independence supporters will assess the number of the Venetian companies which have not paid tax to the Italian state.
“You can ignore to a certain degree, then when you have people protesting and not paying taxes massively, the Italian state will eventually be aware of us and take some actions, but for the time being they are just ignoring us and say they will just think about formal federalism. But it is a chit-chat and has nothing to do with reality,” Bernardini told RIA Novosti.
In March, Venetian independence activists launched an online vote to secede from Italy and declare an independent Republic of Veneto. Eighty-nine percent of respondents voted for Veneto to break away from Italy. The vote was not recognized by Italian authorities, but activists believe it will help them legitimize calls for an official referendum.
The core arguments of the movement are financial. The region pays 70 billion euros ($96 billion) in taxes to Rome, and receives 49 billion euros ($67 billion) back in services like healthcare, which activists have called “fiscal robbery."
Moreover, the heavy tax burden has forced thousands of Venetian companies to relocate to neighboring countries, including Austria, Serbia, Switzerland, Slovenia and Croatia. Like other major regions of the country, such as Milan and Lombardy, Veneto is strangled by Italian taxes, which are well above 60 percent.