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Reflections on the status of the Free Territory of Trieste

Coloni, Marina; Clegg, Peter


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Peter Clegg
Dean and Head of School of Social Sciences

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Peter Clegg
Dean and Head of School of Social Sciences


The Free Territory of Trieste was established in 1947 through United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 16 and a Treaty of Peace with Italy and the victorious powers. However, over 70-years on, the final arrangements agreed at the time have not been fully implemented. Conceived as a territory controlled by the UNSC, with its own Government and Statute, Trieste had a temporary Allied Military Government followed by a civilian administration (Italy and Yugoslavia), whilst awaiting the appointment of a Governor. However, the Security Council's provisions were never implemented, which means an uncertainty regarding Trieste's current status. The paper considers the key political questions since the end of the Second World War and investigates if Trieste's ambiguous status can, or indeed should, be clarified. The paper first offers an overview of Trieste's history; an explanation of the original plans for its governance and why these were never achieved; an account of the growing discontent within Trieste about the status quo; and a discussion of the likely solutions for resolving the situation. More specifically, the paper then focuses on the tensions between de jure versus de facto administration, the options for a referendum, the prospects of appointing a provisional governor, and whether the status quo should actually be considered the accepted mode of administration for the Free Territory of Trieste.


Coloni, M., & Clegg, P. (2022). Reflections on the status of the Free Territory of Trieste. Small States & Territories, 5(1), 179-194

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 16, 2022
Publication Date 2022-05
Deposit Date Apr 26, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 27, 2022
Journal Small States & Territories
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 1
Pages 179-194
Keywords Croatia; Free Territory of Trieste; governance; Italy; microstates; Osimo Treaty; referendum; self-determination; Slovenia; United Nations; Yugoslavia
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