Erich Ferluga

The Issue of the Free Territory of Trieste
as an International Nation
and its socio-economic potentials

(7 January 2012)



In this text the issue of the Free Territory of Trieste is very well presented, clarifying why Trieste cannot be under the sovereignty of the italian state. Moreover, a future for the territory is sketched as International Nation that could become not only a success from the economic and social point of view but also an example to follow for all those realities that feel and are suffocated and demeaned by the bureaucratic centralism of the modern states.



In the era of globalization, whether for good or ill, there are some realities that can counteract the growing world crisis which is spreading from the most developed countries, and can change the current economic and commercial situation to the benefit of many regions and peoples of Central Europe and of the world.

One of these realities is situated in the heart of Europe, i.e. the northernmost point of the Mediterranean Sea. We are talking about the great economic, commercial and industrial potential of the Free Port of Trieste (F.P.T.), which is part of the Free Territory of Trieste (F.T.T.), both founded by the UN as independent states with their own statutes, but linked together by socio-economic functions.

Historically, as early as 1719 the emperor Charles VI of Austria established a free port in Trieste, thus granting the city complete market autonomy and ensuring stability without requiring the payment of taxes. Those privileges were extended during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa and were reconfirmed and improved in 1891 by Emperor Franz Joseph.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 16, adopted on January 10th 1947, legally established and approved the Free Territory of Trieste and the Free Port of Trieste. The three statutes named Attachments VI, VII and VIII were later included in the Treaty of Peace with Italy, signed on February 10th 1947, that marks the borders of this extraordinary International Nation.

This nation was set up after the end of the Second World War as the main concern and wish of the victorious powers was to guarantee peaceful coexistence between peoples and the free international transit of goods through the port of Trieste, overcoming nationalistic issues that were put aside with the establishment of the Free Territory of Trieste, as an International Nation open to everyone.

This International Nation, administered by the Allied Military Government under United Nations protection, lasted until 1954. The Treaty and the Attachments were drawn up clearly and in detail. They are quite precise in the way they show the administrative, legislative and legal way to rebuild and reform this new nation, as a demilitarized tax free zone under the role and protection of the United Nations !

Unfortunately, in 1948 the former Allied powers started to divide Europe in two ideological blocs with different political worldviews, that is to say communism and capitalism.
Following the Memorandum of Understanding of October 5th 1954, the Free Territory of Trieste under military protection by Allied Forces was temporarily (see article 1) entrusted to Italian and Yugoslavian civil administration (see article 2), the latter being succeeded by Slovenia and Croatia in 1991.

In 1975 Italy and Yugoslavia signed an almost secret bilateral treaty to annex the temporarily administered zones of the F.T.T. Since then, nobody has been willing to raise the issue of the Free Territory of Trieste, divided into 3 zones that are still administered on a provisional basis by Italy, Slovenia and Croatia respectively, and still subject to the previously-mentioned International Treaty of 1947; therefore the territory is subject to Italian, Slovenian and Croatian territorial and political sovereignty in appearance only.

Unfortunately the “cold war” and nationalistic tensions led to the complete political and administrative failure of the Free Territory of Trieste and to the continuing decline of the local economy in the territories administered by Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. However, ideological conflicts between East and West ended in 1989, and therefore there no longer exist the political, strategic and military interests that, for decades, blocked the territory’s economic development.

The port (with a depth of over 17 metres) is lacking in infrastructure. For this reason commercial access via the port of Trieste is not available equally to all international and Central European trade, as is the case in other international ports of the world.

Within the port EVERYONE should legally be able to establish new industrial, shipyard, commercial and storage activities with the opportunity to enlarge the facilities, both on land and sea.

It is important not to underestimate the fact that a completely renewed international free port, both as to its administrative and logistical aspect and its modern facilities for loading and unloading goods, would be comparable with the most important ports of the world, contributing to the economic development of all countries.

The Free Port of Trieste included in the Free Territory of Trieste would be a unique and new example of peaceful coexistence and economic, social and cultural growth, as well as a meeting point for many nations.

The Free Territory of Trieste today has approximately 315,000 inhabitants; its territory covers an area of 738 sq. kms and extends from the mouth of the Timavo river near Duino-Devin (zone A) to the river Mirna near Novigrad (zone B), including the Port of Koper (Slovenia) (see map).

The most widely spoken languages are Italian, Slovenian and Croatian; the citizens are multi-ethnic and multicultural, a mixture of Slovenians, Italians, Croatians, Austrians, Hungarians, Slovaks, Czechs, Greeks, Jews, Russians, Chinese etc. The inhabitants are “citizens of the world”, as citizens of the only existing International Nation.

In a time of crisis, nobody can have unproductive public assets; therefore Trieste is fighting to regain the legitimate well-being, the Mittel-European economic and commercial role, that it inherited from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and that the United Nations understood so well at the end of the Second World War. This would enable a flow of sea traffic between Africa, Asia, America and Europe that would be essential for the international and Central European economy.

Starting a constructive discussion at a diplomatic level and presenting the issue of the Free Territory of Trieste to the United Nations (the U.N. already replied by letter ref. PO210P1 on May 20th 1983), would lead to an international political unblocking, to the benefit of everyone.

The Free Port of Trieste, according to:

  • article 21 of the Treaty of Peace with Italy 1947;
  • articles 3, 2, 18 and 21.2 of the Charter of the Free Port of Trieste- Attachment VIII of the Treaty of Peace with Italy 1947;
  • article 10 of the Italian constitution 1948;
  • article 6, paragraph 12 of the Italian law concerning the reorganization of ports n° 84/1994;
  • article 5 of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in London on October 5th 1954;
  • and obviously on the basis of the International Treaties signed by Italy;

cannot be administered by the Italian state. Therefore the Free Port of Trieste and the Free Territory of Trieste must be given back to the international community.

Therefore the Committee for the Free Port of Trieste, by means of the International Commission for the Free Port, the United Nations Security Council and the respective foreign ministers of the United Nations Member States, has for a long time been resorting to the clauses of the International Treaty to legally re-establish the already established and recognized Free Port of Trieste that also includes the Port of Koper, whose integrity, independence, protection and demilitarization are ensured by the United Nations Security Council. The Committee has already formally reported to the international community (United Nations) everything that has to this date blocked the social and economic development of this International Nation, unique in the world. Unfortunately local politicians want to destroy it, depriving the city, the nearby countries, Europe and the whole world of a great opportunity.

The Committee for the Free Port of Trieste is also drawing up the legal bases for international companies interested in establishing businesses and offices within the Port of Trieste and the Free Territory of Trieste.

The Committee for the Free Port of Trieste is at the disposal of everyone to whom this letter is addressed, for any initiative, meeting, interview, conference, which would be helpful in informing the local population and the whole world about the great economic, commercial, social and cultural potentials offered by this territory.

The Committee for the Free Port of Trieste is available for an open, direct and constructive dialogue for mutual collaboration with the European Union and with every United Nations state member, aimed at re-presenting the issue of the Free Territory of Trieste to the United Nations Security council (see the attached letter), as an International Nation open to everyone.

On behalf of the General Assembly of the Committee F.P.T

Thank you for your attention and kindest regards

Erich Ferluga
Counsellor CPLT
(e-mail: )



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