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​​Observatory on Autonomy

The Observatory on Autonomy is a database, collecting legislation and case law related to the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano. It includes the Statute and its enactment Decrees, the provincial Laws and the rulings of the Constitutional Court (since 2001).


By supporting improvements in governance in Italy and in several countries in Europe and overseas, the Institute for Comparative Federalism offers expertise to international organizations (e.g. the European Union, the Council of Europe, OSCE), regional /local governments, including the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen, government delegations and independent institutions.

The demand to the institute for high-level consultancy activities to both local and international stakeholders is constantly growing and constitutes therefore one of the three pillars of activities of the Institute (together with publications and training activities). We offer expertise in form of presentations and consultations to delegations (in EURAC and on missions), writing reports and drafting legislation or completing studies.

Stakeholders are policy makers of the local and regional government of the Autonomous Provinces of Bolzano and Trento, government delegations from abroad, international organizations (Council of Europe, the OSCE, EU), NGOs, Universities and other institutions for higher education, especially in Asia (Tibet, Pakistan, Myanmar) as well as Eastern Europe (Ukraine and Moldova) and the Caucasus Region.

As to the topics, at local and national level, consultancy activities mainly regard the current constitutional reform and its impact on autonomous regions in Italy and on the Autonomous Provinces of Bolzano/Bozen and Trento; the impact of EU-Law on the Autonomy; the allocation of competences between the Italian State and the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen; the developments in both "ordinary" and "special" regions of Italy with regard to financial autonomy, the future challenges of the EGTC European Region Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino and last but not least, participatory practices.

At international level, special interest is being put forward to consulting activities regarding the Autonomy of South Tyrol and its applicability to other situations characterized by minority issues (such as to Tibet, Azerbaijan, countries on the Balkan and in the Caucasus Region) as well as to the division of competences in (becoming) federal and regional states and topics linked to the concept of multi-level governance.

Furthermore, single researchers of the institute (Prof. Francesco Palermo and Prof. Jens Woelk) are members of expert committees such as the “Group of Independent Experts of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities” and of the “Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities” of the Council of Europe and thus they also address topics such as discrimination, protection of rights of minorities and integration in multi-ethnic societies. In 2015, the Institute was entrusted by the Council of Europe with a study on “Autonomy and Borders in an Evolving Europe. Principles, framework and procedures for modifying status, competences and borders of subnational entities within domestic laws”.


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