The announcement follows a meeting in Rome between Mr Alfano and his Austrian counterpart, Karin Kneissl.

The meeting was called after the newly elected government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz sparked tensions with Italy last December, when it suggested it would offer double passports to German-speaking residents of the northern Italian province of South Tyrol, which borders on Austria.

The proposal caused alarm in Italy over what is being considered as an attempt to spark division in the ethnically diverse province.

“I have greatly appreciated the words of Premier Sebastian Kurz and my colleague Kneissl on the fact that we are countries that discuss things but do not take unilateral initiatives,” Mr Alfano said.

“Italy’s position on double citizenship is the historic one: the full recognition of the De Gasperi-Gruber accord, a successful accord.”

Mr Alfano added that the 1946 accord “underlies South Tyrol’s autonomous status, which is a universally appreciated example of peaceful coexistence and economic development between different language groups”.

The possibility of offering dual citizenship to German-speaking Italians is part of the new Austrian government’s “package”, but Ms Kneissl assured reporters that “any such measure would be taken while taking all parties into account”.

“Naturally, there is a long juridical process that must be completed,” she added.