New and Old Minorities: Migration Politics in South Tyrol
The following report is part of the project ALIAS – “Autonomia, Lavoro, e Integrazione in Alto Adige-Südtirol” (Autonomy, Labor and Integration in South Tyrol), conducted by the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC) – Institute for Minority Rights, which looks at and compares how territories inhabited by “old minorities” (Catalonia and South Tyrol) deal with the phenomenon of migration and the recent arrival of migrant communities. This report presents the case of South Tyrol/Province of Bolzano and analyzes the following dimensions: South Tyrolean political discourses on migration; the role of South Tyrol inside the Italian institutional framework in the management of migration in terms of both migration control policy and integration policy; the South Tyrolean institutions created to deal with the migrant population in these two policy areas; the specific policies adopted by South Tyrol regarding the control of the migration flux; and the 2011 South Tyrol integration law. The report shows how migration interacts in several ways with the presence in South Tyrol of traditional minorities and its system to protect their diversity. For the most part, South Tyrol‟s history of cultural diversity and its system to protect minorities has not favoured the development of a pluralistic environment that welcomes the arrival of migrant communities and their cultures. The presence of migrants is considered as a problem in regards to the relationship between South Tyrol and the Italian State and the cohabitation among the Italian and the German-speaking groups, as shown by contrasts between the South Tyrolean government and the Italian government. There is also the concern that migration will change the demographic balance between the traditional linguistic groups, and the topic of migration is used in discussions on the South Tyrol system to protect old minorities. This situation seems to have delayed the development of a comprehesinve South Tyrolean approach to migration. Regarding the competencies of South Tyrol in the matter of migration, the Province does not have a key role in the decision-making process on migration control, and further developments in this direction seem unlikely. Yet, South Tyrol differentiates slightly from other Regions regarding the administration of the control of the migration flux. Instead, the Province has an extended role in regards to integration policies. Offices and institutions of the Province of Bolzano have carried out several activities to support the integration process of the migrant population. In particular it is noteworthy the pioneering work of the Province of Bolzano regarding intercultural mediation. However, until the 2011 integration law, South Tyrol did not elaborate a comprehensive local approach to integration policy. Furthermore, concerns over migration resulted in the importance given in South Tyrol to knowledge of the local languages and cultures, proposals to select specific migrants considered more adaptable to South Tyrolean society, and the need to limit the impact of migration on South Tyrolean society, even by restricting migrants‟ social rights.
URIhttp://www.eurac.edu/en/research/autonomies/minrig/Documents/ALIAS/ALIAS Final February 2013.pdf