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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

Italy has been by far the worst-affected European state by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak, which has led to a nationwide quarantine. The government plans to implement a stimulus package worth EUR25 billion to ameliorate the economic damage, including the provision of funds to health services and tax relief for firms reporting a 25% drop in revenue.Among other implications, the outbreak is likely to have a substantial impact on the important tourism sector via cancelled bookings and a decline in demand. Given the threats to the global economy, alongside Italy's fiscal and political challenges, we therefore expect the impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak to further contribute to the forecast recession. On the assumption that the outbreak will be contained by the third quarter of 2020, we forecast economic contraction of 0.9% in 2020.The ruling Five Star Movement (Movimento Cinque Stelle: M5S) has suffered a series of defections in parliament as a result of internal conflict, complicating the government's ability to pass legislation in the Senate. This trend, which has been exacerbated by M5S's failure to achieve any electoral success in recent local and European Parliament elections, is likely to continue and thus put a strain on the party's coalition with the centre-left Democratic Party (Partito Democratico: PD). The effectiveness of the government’s response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak will be a key indicator in assessing the probability of a government collapse and snap election in 2020.Although the nationalistic and Eurosceptic League (Lega) was sidelined by the PD and M5S when these two formed a government, it is well positioned to regroup and perform strongly in upcoming elections. M5S's alliance with the PD has allowed League to cast itself as the only true "anti-establishment" party, attracting disaffected voters who previously supported M5S.
Last update: March 13, 2020

Operational Outlook

M5S continues to push an environmentalist stance on big infrastructure projects such as the Ilva steelworks, where it pushed to remove ArcelorMittal's legal shield against criminal prosecution over environmental breaches. However, the economic ramifications of radically opposing big projects will likely prevent it from pursuing the winding down of Ilva or blocking other major infrastructure projects. Its willingness to cede the Ministry of Transport to its coalition partner, the PD, signalled a silent retreat from seriously opposing key infrastructure projects.

Last update: January 31, 2020

Terrorism

Elevated

Large-scale immigration from war-torn and poverty-stricken countries has fuelled anti-immigrant sentiment and increased the risk of far-right terrorist attacks, as evidenced by the Macerata shooting on 3 February 2018 that resulted in six Africans being wounded by a far-right sympathiser. Police operations in July and November 2019 helped dismantle far-right and neo-Nazi rings, uncovering a large number of military-grade weapons, ammunition, and other weapons. The operations highlighted such groups' increased access to sophisticated weaponry.

Last update: March 20, 2020

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: February 4, 2020

War Risks

The main war risk to Italy stems from the violence in Libya, where the civil war between rival factions continues to rage on. Italy has deployed military missions to Tripoli and Misrata to provide training and technical assistance for the security troops of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). The Italian troops also provide security for a military hospital in Misrata. Italy would seek to reaffirm its diminished diplomatic status in Libya, but it is unlikely to become more militarily engaged without the involvement of its European allies.

Last update: January 31, 2020

Social Stability

High

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

Last update: January 31, 2020

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