Brexit was bad enough. But this could be even worse news for the EU.

Merkel Juncker EU
Support us and go ad-free

Two of the richest regions in Italy have just voted [paywall] for greater autonomy, in what could become a worse crisis than Brexit for the EU.

In two separate non-binding votes, the northern Lombardy and Veneto regions voted in favour of more autonomy by over 90% [paywall]. The votes come soon after the 1 October referendum in favour of independence in Catalonia, Spain. And EU Council President Jean-Claude Juncker recently expressed his fear that the independence crisis in Catalonia could spark a domino effect across Europe.

Déjà vu

The sharp rise in support for Catalan independence can be traced back to a 2010 court decision to overturn the previously approved 2006 Catalan Statute. This statute would have given Catalonia more control over taxes. Many people believe that the rejection of this statute laid the foundations for the current crisis, with Catalans feeling aggrieved that the region pays more to the Spanish state in taxes than it receives in return.

In Italy, Veneto and Lombardy make up about a third [paywall] of the overall Italian gross domestic product (GDP). The recent votes in favour of greater autonomy emphasise the importance of more control over their taxes and decentralisation of powers from Rome. The two referendums give Lombardy and Veneto a stronger mandate to negotiate tax reform and devolution with the central Italian government.

EU alarm

EU Council President Juncker recently spoke about his fears for the EU, saying:

If we allow Catalonia, though it’s not our business, to separate itself from Spain, others will do the same. And I wouldn’t like to have that…

Speaking about the potential problems for the EU, Juncker continued:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

I wouldn’t like to have a European Union which consists of 98 states in 15 years’ time. It’s already relatively difficult at 28, no easier at 27… but at 98, that seems impossible.


Catalonia – and now Veneto and Lombardy – could embolden other regions with claims to greater autonomy or independence across Europe. They include Scotland; Flanders and Wallonia in Belgium; the Basque and Galician regions of Spain; Bavaria in Germany; and South Tyrol in Italy.

The EU was conspicuous by its absence amid international condemnation of Spanish police brutality to stop the Catalan independence referendum. And while many political commentators argue that decentralisation of power improves democracy, the EU still seems to be against it. This is probably not surprising, as the EU has a questionable relationship with democracy. Now, with these two Italian regions apparently following Catalonia’s lead, an EU splintering may have already begun.

Get Involved!

– Read more about Catalonia and Italy at The Canary Global. Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more independent global coverage.

Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured image via European People’s Party/Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

Do your bit for independent journalism

Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.

We need you to help out, if you can.

When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.

You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.

In return you get:

  • Advert free reading experience
  • Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
  • 20% discount from our shop


The Canary Fund us

Comments are closed