Consensus Impossible? South Tyrol’s
Autonomy Convention and the issue of Self-determination




Research note

Marc Röggla

South Tyrol is an autonomous, predominantly German-speaking province in Italy with one of the most successful autonomy arrangements in Europe. The basis of autonomy and the main legal document is the Autonomy Statute of 1972. The autonomy of South Tyrol evolved during the last decades and the need for revision and adaptation became more striking.

Therefore, the Provincial Council (Südtiroler Landtag) in 2016 initiated a participatory democratic process to draft a proposal for the revision of the 1972 Autonomy Statute. One of the most controversial topics debated in the so-called ‘Autonomy Convention’ has been the right to self-determination.

This paper gives an introduction to South Tyrol’s Autonomy model and proceeds with a description of the participatory process. This initial part is followed by a section analyzing the debates of self-determination in South Tyrol in general, and within the Autonomy Convention in particular. The final part argues that the debates in the Autonomy Convention show certain contrasts between the language groups living in South Tyrol. Nevertheless, the debates did not influence public life, nor the outcomes of the elections of the Provincial Council 2018.




About the Author

Marc Röggla – Graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Since 2013, he has been a researcher with the Institute for Minority Rights at EURAC research in Bolzano/Bozen. His research mainly focuses on South Tyrol’s autonomy arrangement and minority media in Europe. He was one of EURAC’s coordinators of the Autonomy Convention ( Since 2018 he has been the General Secretary for the European Association of Daily Newspapers in Minority and Regional Languages.



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