Next Catalonias? Italian Regions Vote for More Autonomy

90% Vote 'Yes' in Non-Binding Referendum

The situation in Catalonia, trying to break away from Spain, is just one of many ongoing secession movements across Europe. Over the weekend, voting in northern Italy may have lain the groundwork for more such efforts.

Backed by the Lega Nord Party, both Venice and Lombardy held referenda petitioning the Italian central government for increased autonomy and control over more of their tax revenue. A 90% “yes” vote in anticipated.

The two neighboring regions have had ambitions of founding Padania, with Lega Nord leading such efforts. Though the referendum is a very modest step in that direction it is believed to be just the first step in a move toward increased support for independence.

It resembles the situation in Catalonia, except on an even bigger scale. In both cases, the regions seeking autonomy and independence are the richest parts of the existing countries, and both see themselves being unfairly burdened by heavy taxes that are spent elsewhere in the country.

Both regions have long histories of autonomy, with Lombardy being governed as two separate duchies in Milan and Mantua, and the Republic of Venice lasting until it was conquered by Napoleon.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.