Austria seeks to allay Italy's fears over citizenship plan

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is seeking to allay fears voiced by some Italians about his new government's proposal to offer citizenship to ethnic Austrians in northern Italy.

Kurz's Austrian People's Party and the nationalist Freedom Party say in their coalition agreement that they intend to "rethink dual citizenship," that may include granting Austrian citizenship to residents of the Italian region of South Tirol.

The region was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire until after World War I.

There has been speculation that the move could mean Italian alpine athletes choose to compete for Austria in international events.

Kurz said Tuesday any changes would only be undertaken "in close coordination" with Italy.