Playing the Referendum Game in Northern Italy

Three weeks after Catalonia, two of Italy’s wealthiest regions are going to the polls over similar issues related to autonomy. On Sunday, the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto will vote on a one-question query on whether to demand greater autonomy from Rome. Despite their apparent simplicity, both questions are formulated in such a way as to be misleading. Few months before the national election, the referendum may be considered as a test for Northern League, or even a rehearsal in view of a political campaign based on the promise of a greater return on taxes.

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The EU and the Catalan Crisis

The events of the past week in Catalunya (and of the weeks that will follow) are very serious and worrying. Catalunya is a region of a Member State of the EU that has begun a unilateral process of independence, disregarding the Constitution, its Statute of Autonomy and the opposition of half of the Catalan population. It’s a remarkable challenge for Spanish democracy. It’s a challenge for the EU as well.

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Sanctuary Cities and the Trump Administration

The current clash between the Trump administration and the so-called “sanctuary cities” on immigration is not qualitatively new. There have been other attempts by the local level in the United States to position itself as an alternative political force vis-à-vis the federal government. Due to the political style of the new administration and all the drama attached to it, the conflict may, however, reach new simmering heights. It may also be more dangerous for the social cohesion of the United States as a political entity.

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Italy before the Constitutional Referendum: “I do not see any Armageddon Scenario”

On Sunday, Italy will vote on the largest constitutional reform in recent history. Francesco Clementi, constitutional lawyer from the University of Perugia and one of the staunchest supporters of the reform, answers our questions about what will happen in case of a NO or a YES victory.

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Ganz Gallien? Fehlschlüsse aus dem wallonischen CETA-Veto

Wallonien lässt die westliche Welt zappeln – und wird dafür je nach politischem Standpunkt des Betrachters als einzig aufrechtes gallisches Dorf besungen oder als eigennützige Erpresserbande geschmäht. Stutzig macht jedoch die prompte Reaktion, man hätte CETA besser doch nicht als „gemischtes Abkommen“ einstufen sollen, sondern als Abkommen zwischen der EU und Kanada ohne direkte Beteiligung der Mitgliedstaaten. Diese Reaktion zeugt von Demokratieverachtung.

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Die neue Finanzarchitektur im Bundesstaat: ein Gewinn für Deutschland

Der Kompromiss zu den Finanzbeziehungen von Bund und Ländern macht beide Seiten stärker: Die Eigenständigkeit der Länder wird durch die Stärkung ihrer Finanzkraft gefestigt. Wenn sie die neu zufließenden Gelder sinnvoll einsetzen, können Sie dem Bund zukünftig besser als bislang gleichberechtigt gegenübertreten. Der Preis dafür ist ein Erstarken der Rolle des Bundes. Er muss mehr bezahlen, darf aber auch mehr bestimmen.

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“Vote Yes for a Safe Italy” or “Vote No to Defend the Constitution”: Italian Constitutional Politics between Majoritarianism and Civil Resistance

In the run-up to the constitutional referendum in October, the Italian government meets considerable resistance towards its plans for a comprehensive reform of the Constitution of 1948. Both Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Constitutional Reform Minister Maria Elena Boschi regularly sustain that in case of a ‘No’ vote, chaos will rule. Public debate seems trapped in a Manichean game between yes-proponents that accuse the opposition of conservatism, and no-proponents that accuse the government of authoritarian leanings.

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“Ein Land hat ein Recht darauf, regiert zu werden”

Spanien steht vor Neuwahlen, nachdem die Parteien im Parlament monatelang keine mehrheitsfähige Regierung zustandegebracht haben. Ex-Verfassungsgerichtspräsident und -Generalanwalt am EuGH Pedro Cruz Villalón sieht im Verfassungsblog-Interview die Parteien in der Schuld und prophezeit seinem Land eine assymetrisch föderale Zukunft – möglicherweise mit Vorbildfunktion für Europa.

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Freedom of Religion vs Islamophobia: Lombardy’s “Anti-Mosque Law” is Unconstitutional

While islamophobia is on the rise after the carnages of Paris and Bruxelles, recent developments in Italy may foster the confidence in the freedom of religion of European Muslims. In a ground-breaking decision, the Italian Constitutional Court has nullified a regional “anti-mosques law” enacted by the Lombardy Region one year ago, discriminating the Muslim community of this rich and populated area of Northern Italy.

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