• Italy edition
 
'Rome thinks it is still an empire': Veneto president
Luca Zaia, the president of the Veneto region, says Rome treats it like "a suburb of the Roman Empire." Photo: Aberto Pizzoli/AFP

'Rome thinks it is still an empire': Veneto president

Published: 20 Mar 2014 08:29 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Mar 2014 08:29 GMT+01:00

"Rome thinks it is still an empire. It goes at its own speed and is slowing the rest of us down," Luca Zaia told foreign journalists in Rome.

Italians in Veneto are taking part in a week-long online poll on whether the region should split off from the rest of the country.

The poll is not legally binding but aims to rouse support for a bill calling for a referendum.

Opinion polls show around 60 percent of the 3.8 million people eligible to vote favour independence.

The new Republic of Veneto would be inspired by the ancient Venetian republic - a rich economic, cultural and trading power which existed from the 7th century until its fall to Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797.

"The capital treats Veneto as if it was the suburbs of the Roman Empire, as if the people of Veneto are just taxpayers," he said, adding that the region pays €21 billion more to Rome than it receives in investment and services.

"Over half of Italy is technically bankrupt. Yet there is not a cent of debt in Veneto's balance sheets," Zaia said.

Plans for the referendum have sparked concerns over the possible impact the region's independence would have on Italy's fragile political system.

Secessionist parties have said that should a majority vote in favour in the online poll, they will declare independence and stop paying taxes to Rome.

London-based research consultancy Capital Economics said the poll "highlights several serious problems", including the damaging effects such a loss of revenue could have on Italy's fiscal position.

Rising support for Venetian independence and other anti-establishment parties such as the Five Star Movement (M5S) "demonstrates the corrosive impact of the economic crisis on the country's already fragile political system," it said in a note.

The recession-hit country - labouring under a mountain of public debt - has just begun to see tentative signs of growth, but "high unemployment and the need for tight fiscal policy for years to come will sustain these protest movements, complicating policymaking," it added.

However, Zaia said the bill - which must be approved by the regional council before it goes before parliament - "still has some way to go".

"The government will declare the request for a referendum unconstitutional, the region will appeal and so on," he said.

"How long will it take? We are in Italy," he added in reference to the country's famously slow bureaucracy.

Don't miss a story about Italy - Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Tens of thousands in Renzi Rome protest
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Photo: AFP

Tens of thousands in Renzi Rome protest

Tens of thousands of Italians took to the streets of Rome Saturday for a demo organised by Italy's largest trade union to protest Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's plans to overhaul the labour market. READ  

Italy backs Nazi victim claims against Germany
The liberation of Rome from Nazi occupation on June 4th 1944. Photo: HO/AFP

Italy backs Nazi victim claims against Germany

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Italian town plans separate bus for Roma
The bus segregation plan was discussed at the town hall on Thursday. Photo: F Ceragioli/Wikimedia Commons

Italian town plans separate bus for Roma

A mayor in north-west Italy has backed a controversial plan to create a bus route only for Roma people, a move which has been likened to the segregation policies of Apartheid South Africa, Italian media reported on Friday. READ  

The Local List
Ten of the best students bars in Rome
Rome is a popular city for students. Student s in Rome photo: Shutterstock

Ten of the best students bars in Rome

Rome has a huge and varied number of drinking holes to cater to the constant influx of students to the city. The Local takes you on a crawl of ten of the best. READ  

Vatican probes Italy's 'playboy priests'
Bishop Mario Oliveri has been accused of turning a blind eye to the actions of priests under his direction. Photo: RiccardoP1983/Wikimedia Commons

Vatican probes Italy's 'playboy priests'

The Vatican has launched an investigation into a diocese in north-west Italy following a series of scandals by “playboy priests”, including one being convicted for sexual abuse and another posting naked photos of himself on Facebook. READ  

Italy hit with €340m EU bill as France cashes in
The revelation comes as Italy comes under fire for its 2015 budget. Money photo: Shutterstock

Italy hit with €340m EU bill as France cashes in

Italy will have to pay the EU an estimated €340 million on December 1st, according to a leaked document which shows France is due to receive a €1 billion rebate. READ  

VIDEO
French football fans cause mayhem in Milan
St Etienne fans burn flares at Milan's San Siro stadium. Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

French football fans cause mayhem in Milan

Around 400 French football fans caused mayhem in Milan on Thursday evening, setting off firecrackers and damaging the city’s metro ahead of a Europa League tie between St Etienne and Inter Milan. READ  

Madonna in sisterhood pledge with singing nun
Madonna posted the above photo alongside her tweet in support of Sister Cristina's remake of Like a Virgin. Photo: Madonna Facebook page

Madonna in sisterhood pledge with singing nun

Pop star Madonna has pledged lifelong sisterhood with an Italian nun who released a remake of her provocative 1984 hit, Like A Virgin, earlier this week. READ  

Italy civil unions
Silvio Berlusconi backs gay union proposal
Forza Italia leader Silvio Berlusconi has backed a proposal for a civil union law in Italy. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Silvio Berlusconi backs gay union proposal

Italy’s ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was once better known for his anti-gay gaffes, has backed a proposal for same-sex unions in Italy. READ  

Italy 2015 budget row
Renzi vows to publish cost of EU 'palaces'
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said "we're going to have some fun" publishing data "on everything that is spent by these palaces". Photo: Emanuel Dunand/AFP

Renzi vows to publish cost of EU 'palaces'

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Thursday announced his intention to make public the cost of the European institutions, as a row exploded over his country's budget plans. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
'Italy is the real sick man of Europe'
Society
Semi-clad tourists dance in priceless fountain
National
Singing nun picks Like a Virgin for debut album
National
Where's the best place to live in Italy?
National
Amorous Italian couple get stuck in frolic at sea
Culture
Test your Italian history with The Local's quiz
Travel
Top ten: Travel warnings for Italy
International
Revealed: The cost of home comforts in Italy
Health
Nurse 'killed 38 patients for being annoying'
Culture
Breaking Balsamic: See US writer's potent parody
Opinion
Is Italy a desirable place for foreigners to work?
Culture
Top ten: Things Italian mothers say
Society
Mayors vow to defy gay marriage registration ban
Travel
How well do you know Italy's geography?
National
Ten Italian 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
Italian student tipped to win British X-Factor
Business & Money
Italy ranked ninth most desirable place to work
Education
Why Milan uni's English switch opened minds
National
The small Sicilian town with nine centenarians
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
National
President's barber: €99k state snippers overpaid
National
Is Italy really a bad place to grow old?
Education
Pisa storms into global uni rankings
National
Unruly Italy is EU's most disobedient country
National
Italy among worst places in EU to grow old
Travel
Brit in bid to set Milan metro travel record
International
Marriage scam: 179 Italian couples claim to live in British mail box
Politics
Italy's state barbers' pay trimmed...to €99,000
Politics
eBay users snub Italy’s luxury official cars
National
Udder joy: Italian man is world's best cow-milker
Business & Money
Chinese fashion titans look to Italy for value
National
Clooney wedding 'good news for the Middle East'
National
QUIZ: Test your Italian language skills
Education
Italy top of the class for teaching English
National
Italians offered €30 a day to host a migrant
Tech
Azerbaijan beats Italy in internet stakes
Society
Marriage scrapped due to 'mummy's boy' husband
Politics
Italy separatists unfazed by Scotland's 'no'
Culture
Ten 'rude' Italian phrases you can get away with
Health
7,000 apply for two nursing jobs in Veneto
Education
Mother laments number of 'foreigners' at school
Health
One quarter of Italian teens has tried cannabis
Travel
American tourists caught with Pompeii relic
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

674
jobs available