It was an important week for the Federation of Exiles. After a meeting with Renzo Tondo and the announcement that the Association of the Istrian Communities would be re-entering its ranks, in the “salotto azzurro” of the Trieste City Hall, the European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini, accompanied by Mayor Roberto Dipiazza, received a delegation from the Federation of the Exiles Associations: Association of the Istrian Communities President Lorenzo Rovis and Vice President Niccolò Novacca, the Mayor of the City of Fiume in exile, Guido Brazzoduro, the Representative of the Free City of Zara in exile, Renzo de’ Vidovich, and ANVGD national councilman Simone Peri, who is also President of the Montonese Family.
Also present were several out-going members of Parliament from Trieste, the City Council President, and various City Council members.
Mayor Dipiazza opened the meeting, underlining the city’s commitment to bring to fulfilment, in a just and definitive manner, the matters of compensation towards the Exiles, who paid the entire nation’s war debts with their own properties. Dipiazza mentioned this problem’s being dragged on for over sixty years, stating that “now, finally, with the borders having begun to come down, better conditions exist for the new Government in Rome to come to a definitive close regarding these matters. My tenure as mayor will end in three years’ time, and I have a strong desire to see a solid, definitive solution, in terms of real justice, of all the derivatives of this tragic Exile”.
Federation President Renzo Codarin reminded those present that the Exiles are an important component of the Trieste-Adriatic area which, thanks to Europe, is being renewed in its respect to multiculturalism and history. It is important therefore to act with this new Government so that it will “activate ties with the Exiles in order to achieve concrete results, beginning with serious, just, and definitive compensations, with good end results wherever possible. The incredible slowness of government offices, even in this transition period, has created bitterness and difficulty in the relationship that Italy has with Slovenia ad Croatia”.
These concepts were also expressed by the other representatives of the Associations of the Federation, who also showed vivid interest in the preservation of witnessing of historical and cultural memory of the Exile populations, and the development of these populations’ culture in its own right, for the construction of its future.
The Vice President of the European Commission answered all questions, agreeing fully with the idea of opening, as soon as possible, the Government-Exiles “desk”, to take on three themes: “put into practice what is already law, if necessary by means of an “ad acta” superintendent, to act in haste regarding compensations, while on the other side we can open talks with Croatia and Slovenia (especially after the Slovenian elections, which will take place in the Fall) to re-examine possible property returns (there seems to exist, at least in Croatia, quite an openness, especially when dealing with properties in areas that are losing population), and full cooperation in promoting important activities, also in a European context, to re-launch the culture of Istrian and Dalmatian culture and civilization.
“I am very sensitive to this topic,” he emphasized. “I think that because of this, but especially the city of Trieste, can help your promotion of initiatives to help keep these cultures and traditions alive, in a true European context. What does this mean? That any conflicting claims must be excluded, in the knowledge that the cultures of this area are the founding cultures of this entire region. This is a point that we can work on, in a concrete manner.”
The final speaker was the director of the IRCI who sustained, from the diversified point of view of the Union of Istrians, the necessity of “the return, and not the re-purchasing, of the Exiles’ properties, as stated in the 1947 peace treaty.” He made it clear that a “European solution should be found and followed, since Italy, up to now, has hardly satisfied the Exiles’ expectations.”