The presidents of the southern regions take the field against the controversial reform of the autonomy wanted by the League. Leading the protest front is the governor of Campania Vincenzo De Luca, who announces battle and asks to “withdraw the bill”.
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Autonomy is a clash
Apple of discord, which for 24 hours has divided the alignments across the board, is the draft bill that the owner of the local authorities Roberto Calderoli will bring today to the State-Regions Conference. A draft law on differentiated autonomy, which however has infuriated those who, like De Luca (but he is not the only one), believe that in this way “Italy splits in two” and “the South is condemned to death”. While from the parts of the majority they assure that there will be no “leaks forward” and that the priority of the government is to maintain “the unity of the state”: “No regions of series A and regions of series B”, is the leitmotif. The fuse, however, seems to have been triggered. So much so that at the end of the day it is Calderoli himself who has to intervene to correct the shot. But what does the draft foresee?
To end up in the crosshairs of critics are two lines of text that would introduce a change on the Essential Levels of Performance (Lep). These are those minimum standards that each Region, in providing the public services entrusted to it, must respect, to guarantee “the social and civil rights of citizens” regardless of where they live. With the reform, the Lep (established at a central level) would somehow become “optional”. If the essential levels of services to be guaranteed to citizens were not determined within a year, in practice, the Regions that have requested autonomy could in any case obtain all the subjects on the basis of the “historical costs” spent in the territory by the State to manage those skills. In short, the gaps would remain. Indeed, year after year, the draft explains, the Regions could also ask for revisions to adjust spending.
It is not the only point to turn up one’s nose. There is another passage in the new draft that perhaps explains best of all why the real stake of autonomy is money. The subjects that will be transferred from the State to the Regions will have a cost. The governors ask that this cost be covered by “leaving” on the territories a share of the tax revenue that is generated in those same territories. For example, a share of Irpef or VAT. In short, the State would lose (becoming impoverished) a part of the tax revenues which should go to the Region which has requested autonomy. However, there is an alternative way. Financing the transferred functions also with its own resources, i.e. introducing new taxes for its own citizens. The first Calderoli draft also indicated this possibility which has disappeared in the new text.
In short, the fear of the opposites is that the gap between North and South will end up widening. “We will form a front with Calabria, Basilicata, Puglia, Molise and Lazio – announces the president of Campania – We are in battle to defend national unity”. And if not only the Northern League supporters Luca Zaia and Attilio Fontana are in favor, but also the dem Stefano Bonaccini (Emilia Romagna) and Eugenio Giani (Tuscany), the situation in the center-south is quite different.
Cautious, for example, is the governor of Abruzzo, Marco Marsilio of Fratelli d’Italia. «There was no blitz – he says trying to defuse the controversy – that of the minister is only a draft. We will listen to his proposal and start a debate ». Also because, adds Marsilio, “it is not a text shared with the government, which has yet to meet on this matter”, thus suggesting that the bill will change. And if even the Calabrian governor Roberto Occhiuto makes it clear that the law needs adjustments (while excluding common fronts with De Luca), the slowdown also comes from FdI in Rome. Where it is pointed out that the issue of autonomy will have to go hand in hand with that of presidentialism. And then “the essential levels of performance are a central point for us, we have also included them in the programme: otherwise there is a risk of social repercussions”. In addition, it is pointed out, the priorities at the moment are different. We will talk about reforms, autonomy and presidentialism in primis from January onwards. In the end, even Calderoli is forced to clarify: «What I have put on the table is a draft to start the discussion: I hope that the definitive version can be written with the contribution of all the Regions». And to De Luca who asks him to withdraw the proposal, he replies: “Since it has never been presented anywhere, it is not clear how it can be withdrawn”.
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Autonomy, it’s a clash: “This is how Italy is divided”. Campania leads the revolt of the central-southern governors