Veneto Region recognizes Crimea — the first EU region to do so


Stefano Valdegamberi

“Italy, Europe, they don’t feel right about it- says the Venetian counselor –  denying the right of a people to decide their fate. What does it matter who the Crimea stands with? If they want to be with Russia, so be it.” 

Sergio RAME, in Il, May 18, 2016

Translated from Italian by Tom Winter

  1. Historic resolution of the majority headed by [Luca] Zaia. 
  2. The accession of the Crimea to Russia is recognized. 
  3. A move that breaks the European sanctions

It caused an immediate stir in Russia. The counselors of the majority of the Veneto Region have signed a resolution asking the Italian government for a commitment to recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation, and for the end of sanctions.

On the formal level, (first signatory: Stefano  Valdegamberi, counselor of the Zaia List and fresh from a forum in Yalta) the resolution has in fact the character of a request. But it is important politically. Why? Because, in this way, the Veneto Region is leading the way in Europe for recognition of the Crimea’s accession to Russia.

In 2014, following the Ukrainian crisis and more or less explicit intervention of Russia, which has supported the separatist fringes of the region, the Crimea has detached itself from the rest of Ukraine, confirming the separation by the outcome of a referendum that has not been recognized as legitimate by the European Union, the United States and a third of the UN member states. Russia, however, considers the result valid. 

“The resolution – explains Valdegamberi – means that it should be possible for the Crimean people to choose their own destiny, and the Crimea wants to stand with Russia. It also calls for an end to sanctions and that relations with Russia be restored. Of course, it has no foreign policy standing; it expresses expresses an outlook, but it has a very strong value because the Veneto Region is suffering the consequences of a wrongheaded European policy.”

The initiative of the Veneto Regional Assembly has been followed with great attention in the Russian press. The first to write about was the Izvestia newspaper, but soon the story is over on Sputnik, the outlet very close to the Kremlin, and on television. “If the vote is successful – reports Izvestia – Veneto will be the first region in Europe to recognize the Crimea as part of Russia.” 

Yesterday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked the ambassadors of the G7 countries to extend the sanctions against Russia at a meeting in Kiev. Spurring the initiative of the 24 Venetian counselors, beyond the political issue, there is the economic issue, linked to penalties in terms of exports to Russia for Veneto’s productive activities, particularly in the primary sector. “Italy, Europe, don’t feel right about it- says the Venetian counselor –  denying the right of a people to decide their fate. What does it matter who the Crimea stands with? If they want to be with Russia, so be it.” 

The resolution “assigns the president of the Veneto Regional Council and President of the Regional Council to take action with the Government and the national parliament and the European institutions for the review of relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation, highlighting the irreversible damage to our economy caused by their criminal choices, choices that are also irresponsible in light of international security.” 

“To promote – it continues – the establishment of a committee to reconsider the ratification in order to lift the sanctions on Russia.” The resolution then calls on the Renzi government “to condemn the international European Union policy towards Crimea, highly discriminatory and unfair in terms of the principles of international law, demanding that the EU recognize the will expressed by the Parliament of Crimea and by the people through a referendum.” It then calls on the government to demand the withdrawal of sanctions and to express “deep concern” for some statements on the subject made by the head of EU diplomacy Federica Mogherini.

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