ITALY could face its own Catalonia-style break-up with controversial referendums scheduled for both Lombardy and Venice.
This month the Lombardy region and the city of Venice will both vote on new powers of autonomy at referendums which are now taking on increasing levels of controversy.
Previously seen as a low-scale vote on local powers, the referendums are now experiencing symbolic overtones following last Sunday’s Catalonian chaos.
Last weekend more than 800 people were injured by police as a referendum on independence for Catalonia was held – against the express wishes of leaders in Madrid and Brussels.
And now Italy is facing similar chaos with two referendums set to be held on October 22, although in these instances the votes are state-approved and will not face violent opposition.
Italy, and the EU, is looking on in concern as the ramifications from Sunday’s Catalonia referendum continue.
Brussels echoed Madrid in calls for the referendum to first be cancelled and then ignored, after more than two million people making up 90 per cent of the turnout voted for independence.
Catalonia said this lukewarm response to the referendum has put the EU’s reputation – and very existence – at stake.
Catalonia referendum: Thousands of people are protesting in Barcelona against police brutality
“The Catalan government calls for an urgent international mediation, preferably European.
“If the EU is not able to protect 7.5 million of its citizens from violence and repression, it will fail not only to them but to the whole union.”
The result will be debated in the European Parliament today although the tone is expected to be one of condemnation rather than of support or assistance.
European Parliament president Antonia Tajani confirmed the debate in a tweet which read: “I spoke to Mariano Rajoy. The European Parliament will debate on constitution, rule of law and fundamental rights in Spain in light of the events in Catalonia.”
The European Commission has weakly claimed the vote was “an internal matter for Spain”.