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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. The May European Parliament (EP) elections inverted the 2018 general election results of the two ruling coalition partners, the far-right League ('Lega') and the antiestablishment Five Star Movement ('Movimento Cinque Stelle', M5S). The victory has allowed Lega, which won the EP elections, to give priority to its flagship policy, a 15% flat tax rate for households that earn up to EUR50,000 per year.  However, the economic downturn will narrow the Italian government’s scope for fiscal measures to boost growth, not least the contentious flat tax proposal. If the government is forced to curb spending, this will put pressure on the ruling coalition given the different spending priorities of Lega and M5S. An additional strain on government cohesion is growing concern within M5S that its poor results in the recent EP and local elections is due to a series of policy concessions made to Lega. To reverse the trend of decline, proponents of this idea advocate a tougher line against Lega on industrial and environmental policy. Refocusing energy on these contentious issues further increase the risk of the coalition collapsing and snap elections being called.
Last update: July 2, 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, strongly supports these projects. This source of division increases the risk of delays to these and similar infrastructural projects and has the potential to collapse the government.

Last update: July 9, 2019

Terrorism

Elevated

Italy's participation in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, Rome's symbolic significance in Islamist discourse, and Italy's geographic proximity to a destabilised Libya have 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 sentiment and increased the risk of far-right attacks, as evidenced by the Macerata shooting on 3 February 2018 that resulted in six Africans being wounded by a far-right sympathiser.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

There are four major Mafia groups in Italy: the Cosa Nostra, the 'Ndrangheta, the Camorra, and the Sacra Corona Unita. These organisations are all showing signs of increasing level of co-operation with foreign organised crime entities based both in Italy and abroad. As a rule, these organisations discourage excessive and frequent use of violence in order to avoid confrontation with law enforcement agencies. When violence is employed, it is typically a matter of score-settling between rival crime groups.

Last update: July 10, 2019

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: May 25, 2019

Social Stability

High

Political polarisation and large-scale immigration has contributed to growing numbers 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: May 25, 2019

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: April 5, 2019

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: April 5, 2019

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: April 5, 2019

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 5, 2019