March 26, 2009

Italian-Swiss Border Redefined Due To Glacier Melting

Italy and Switzerland may be forced to redefine their borders near the Matterhorn due to glacier melting in the Alps, according to a parliamentary draft legislation being prepared in Rome, CNN reported. 

Preparation of a bill, initiated by Franco Narducci of Italy's opposition Democratic Party, to redraw the frontier with neighboring Switzerland is underway, his office said Wednesday. 

Narducci is a member of the foreign affairs panel in Italy's lower Chamber of Deputies. Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has authorized the bill.

Switzerland has been in full cooperation with Italian officials regarding the matter. 

Climate change is the culprit for the melting glaciers in the Alps, the Italian Military Geographic Institute said.

"This draft law is born out the necessity to revise and verify the frontiers given the changes in climate and atmosphere," Narducci informed. "The 1941 convention between Italy and Switzerland established as criteria [for border revisions] the ridge [crest] of the glaciers. Following the withdrawal of the glaciers in the Alps, a new criterion has been proposed so that the new border coincides with the rock."

The new border will only affect uninhabited mountaintop terrain.  The possibility of any family having to change citizenship is excluded. 

In 1861, the border between Italy and Switzerland was designated when Italy was established a nation.  However, the Military Geographic Institute said it has experienced occasional moderations, with its last reported modification in the 1970s when the Switzerland-Italy highway was constructed at the Brogeda crossing. 

Narducci indicated the bill should be effective law by the end of April. 

Italy is able to change its border simply by instituting a new law approved by parliament, contrary to Swiss dealings on these types of matters. 

Narducci emphasized that the same negotiation will be suggested to France and Austria. 

"Once upon a time, the border line demarcation between two nations was synonymous to war and bloodshed," he proclaimed. "Instead, today we proceed with photograms."