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Country Reports

Italy Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

 The national statistical office confirms IHS Markit’s assessment that Italy slipped into a technical recession in the final quarter of 2018, which underpins our gloomy 2019-20 growth projections. Overall, real GDP growth is projected to slow to 0.4% (from 0.5%) in 2019 and 0.3% (from 0.4%) in 2020 from an estimated 0.9% in 2018, according to the January forecast.  The recent bout of political and financial market upheaval, alongside the risk of renewed stress for Italy, is stoking increased consumer and business caution and has been a significant factor in pushing Italy into a mild recession. The weaker-than-anticipated decline in the final quarter of 2018 and very soft survey data point to further downward revision to the 2019-20 growth projection in the February update.  Economic downturn will narrow the Italian government’s scope for fiscal measures to boost growth. If the government is forced to curb spending, this will put pressure on the ruling coalition given the different spending priorities of the coalition partners, the far-right League (Lega) and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (Movimento Cinque Stelle: M5S).  The ideological disparity between Lega and M5S has rendered the policy outlook less predictable, particularly on infrastructure. M5S is seeking to review some major infrastructural projects, notably the Turin-Lyon high-speed railway (Treno Alta Velocità: TAV), which the more pro-business Lega supports. The outcome of the May European Parliament elections will test the cohesion of the ruling coalition. If Lega performs strongly, which recent opinion polls have predicted, the party will be tempted to end its partnership with M5S and force snap elections, preferring to head a right-wing government coalition.
Last update: February 19, 2019

Operational Outlook

The Lega-M5S government coalition is ostensibly split on infrastructure. Where M5S favours an environmental approach, Lega is an advocate of big industrial projects. M5S has criticised the planned construction of the Turin-Lyon high-speed railway (Treno Alta Velocità: TAV) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which forms part of the Southern Gas Corridor, an EU initiative to diversify Europe’s energy supply through the import of natural gas from the Caspian region. Lega, meanwhile, has traditionally supported these projects. This split increases the risk of delaying these and similar infrastructural projects.

Last update: November 28, 2018

Terrorism

Elevated

The Italian government’s participation in the US-led coalition against Islamic State, Rome’s symbolic significance in Islamist discourse, and Italy’s geographic proximity to a destabilised Libya has increased the risk of terrorist attacks by jihadists on Italian soil. Italian authorities have responded by increasing security measures and monitoring capabilities. Large-scale immigration from war-torn and poverty-stricken countries has fuelled anti-immigrant sentiments and increased the risk of far-right attacks, as evidenced by the Macerata shooting on 3 February that resulted in six Africans being wounded by a far-right sympathiser.

Last update: November 28, 2018

War Risks

The main war risk to Italy stems from the violence in Libya, where the emergence of Islamic State-affiliated groups has prompted Italy to militarise the Mediterranean and deploy Italian ground troops in the Libyan city of Misrata. Further deterioration of the security situation in Libya would increase the risk of a more extensive intervention involving maritime operations and offensive air support in Sirte.

Last update: November 28, 2018

Social Stability

High

Political polarisation and large-scale immigration has contributed to a growing number of far-right rallies and leftist counter-protests across the country, often resulting in violence between protesters and police. These protests are poised to continue amid growing anti-immigrant rhetoric by the ruling far-right Lega party, especially in large cities such as the capital Rome, Milan, and Palermo.

Last update: November 28, 2018

Health Risk

Elevated

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: November 28, 2013

Natural Risks

Very high

Italy has a high risk of seismic activity and earthquakes are frequently reported throughout the country. In August 2016, an earthquake measuring 6.2 magnitude on the Richter scale occurred in the town of Amatrice, around 100 km (60 mi) northeast of Rome, in which 292 people were killed and 400 injured. Hundreds of aftershocks followed the initial earthquake. The regions of Umbria, Lazio, and Marche were the hardest hit, particularly in the areas surrounding the towns of Accumoli, Posta, Arquata del Tronto, and Amatrice. Numerous minor earthquakes have occurred since, including at least one deadly tremor.

There are 13 volcanoes in Italy, spread across three zones: the bay of Naples, the area northeast of Sicily, and near the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria. Three of these volcanoes remain active and are liable to erupt: Mount Vesuvius (famous for its destruction of the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD) on the border of the Bay of Naples; Stromboli in the archipelago of the Aeolian Islands to the north of Sicily; and Etna, situated close to the city of Catania.

Furthermore, avalanches often occur in the Alps and periodic flooding impacts some regions. In June 2017, heavy rains occurred in Alpine regions of Italy as well as in the south and Sicily, causing rivers to overflow and leading to several casualties.

Forest fires also occur in Italy. Southern Italy, including Sicily and Sardinia, often suffers from arson attacks in summer, sparking wildfires that are exacerbated by heat waves and dry weather.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Transportation

Moderate

Strikes are frequently carried out by public transportation workers (air, rail, and inner-city) and can cause disruption. It is advisable to remain informed of all strike actions.

Taxis are generally white in Italy. Ensure that the taxi has a meter or that the price is agreed in advance. Supplementary costs may be imposed for luggage, night services, or bank-holiday services.

Cars are not permitted in many historical centers, particularly in northern towns, where access is limited to bicycles and pedestrians. Many of the large towns and cities maintain efficient public transportation systems (metro, tram, bus).

The use of headlights is required in non-urban areas in Italy during both day and night. Drivers unfamiliar with the country may find that the system of traffic lights lacks, at times, the same clarity found in other western European countries.

The rail network is reliable between large cities and the trains are comfortable.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Practical Information

Climate

The climate in the north is continental, with hot summers and cold winters. The coasts enjoy a Mediterranean climate. Temperatures can reach as high as 40°C in certain regions.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +39
Police: 112
Fire Dept.: 115
Ambulance: 118

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 19, 2017