The was subsequently included in an annex

process of implementation of the South Tyrolean autonomy has been embedded in
guarantees at an international level, mostly of a bilateral character. It was
the bilateral De Gasperi-Gruber agreement that was subsequently included in an
annex to the multilateral peace treaty with Italy that created a real obligation
for Italy vis-à-vis Austria. On the whole, the implementation of the autonomy
agreement was an Italian obligation regarding its domestic sphere, which left
Austria with a monitoring role. In the course of events, formal insistence on
the international character of the autonomy did more harm than good: only when
both Italy and Austria became more flexible and pragmatic in their respective
positions did success – i.e. a well working autonomy in South Tyrol – become possible.                                                                              Success depended much on other
factors. A compromise in the South Tyrol issues was not actively sought during
the 1950s and 1960s due to the Cold War and because of Italian domestic
politics. It is by no means a coincidence that the reform of the autonomy
statute for South Tyrol took place in 1972, in the context of general
decentralisation and regionalisation of Italy. At that time, the 15 ordinary
regions were effectively established, thus completing the regional system as
designed in Italy’s constitution of 1948. Once the negotiations had begun, the ‘soft’
pressure from the ‘protecting power’ Austria certainly contributed to keeping
Italy’s interests in the fulfilment of its obligations alive. Another positive
influence was the progress in European integration: the democratisation of
Central and Eastern Europe gave a new and final momentum to the solution of the
conflict by completely changing its security dimension. The prospect of Austria’s
EU-membership at the beginning of the 1990s accelerated the final conclusion of
the implementation of the Package.


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