Italy: is a country where it is easy to lose heart. Italy as one of the most beautiful and romantic countries in the world.
Official language: Italian
Passport and visa: A Finnish citizen needs a passport or identity card as a travel document.
Time difference to Finland: -1
Summer time: -1
In Italy, a tourist tax is charged on accommodation. The tourist tax is about 6 € / person / night. The tax must be paid in cash directly to the property.
Agriculture and fishing
The conditions for agriculture and livestock management are not the best. The Italian peninsula is very mountainous, and the country suffers during periods of drought. Excluding the clay plains around the river Po and the fertile volcanic soils around Rome and Naples, the earth is rather barren. On the other hand, the country’s climate provides an excellent crop base for crops and several harvests a year.
- CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Italy. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.
In the north, maize, rice, sugar beet, soybeans and fruit are mainly produced, while southern Italy grows a lot of wheat and citrus fruits. Grapes, as well as other fruits and vegetables, are basically grown throughout the country. Italy is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of wine, and second largest after Spain in the production of olive oil.
Other important foods, mainly meat and dairy products, are mainly produced in the north but must also be imported. For Italy defense and foreign policy, please check relationshipsplus.
The land is mostly used by self-sufficient farmers on small family farms. From the 1990s there has been a certain transition to fewer and larger, mechanized farms, mainly in the north. Compared to most countries in Western Europe, agriculture is often inefficient, especially in the south.
About a third of the country’s area is wooded. The forest industry is limited and a lot of wood products are imported.
Extensive fishing is conducted in the neighboring parts of the Mediterranean: mainly sardines, anchovies, mackerel, tuna, octopus and seafood are caught.
FACTS – AGRICULTURE
Agriculture’s share of GDP
1.9 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
43.2 percent (2016)
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Offers how the 3-letter acronym of ITA stands for the state of Italy in geography.
The Minister of Education resigns
Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti of the Five Star Movement announces that he is resigning since he has not received the funds he has demanded at least EUR 3 billion. Instead, he was allocated two billion in the government budget, which was recently adopted by Parliament. Fioramonti’s departure is seen by analysts as a severe blow to the government, which is already strained by tensions between the unlucky government parties.
Severe floods in Venice
The water level in Venice, which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has reached well above normal and now reaches 187 centimeters, the highest level in over 50 years. The last time Venice was in an equally serious position was in November 1966, when the water level reached 194 centimeters. Nearly four-fifths of the city, which is built on hundreds of smaller islands linked by canals and bridges, is under water and major damage has occurred in churches, shops and homes. The Italian government has allocated EUR 20 million, just over SEK 210 million, to deal with the most acute devastation.
Name change of South Tyrol question before the Constitutional Court?
The Legislative Assembly of the Alpine region of the South Tyrol of northern Italy changes its name without obtaining permission from Rome. The official name of the region, Alto Adige / South Tyrol, is changed to Provincia di Bolzano / South Tyrol. It is the South Tyrolean Freedom Party that has driven the issue. The government of Rome announces that the case will be taken to the Constitutional Court unless the name change is withdrawn.
The number of MPs is reduced in constitutional reform
Parliament’s two chambers voted in favor of reducing the number of MEPs. The Chamber of Deputies should have 400 members instead of 630 and in the Senate the number should be reduced from 315 to 200. The change should begin from the 2023 parliamentary elections. agree to the agreement if it in turn can push through a change of the election system.
Matteo Renzi leaves the Democratic Party
Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announces that he will leave his Democratic Party (PD) party. Just two weeks ago, the party formed a coalition government with the Five Star Movement. Renzi justifies his decision that PD lacks visions for the future. He will now form a new party, Italia Viva, and according to him, some 30 PD members will move on to his party. However, the new party will continue to support the government. PD Party leader Nicola Zingaretti says after the message that Renzi’s decision is a mistake.
The Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement are to form a new government
The government crisis in Italy that was triggered when the extreme right-wing party Lega tired of cooperation with the Five Star Movement (see August 8) appears to have been resolved. The five-star movement and the Social Democratic Democratic Party have agreed to form a new government coalition to be led by Giuseppe Conte, prime minister of the former right-wing government. Conte has received President Mattarella’s approval to move on with the formation of government.
Migrants are eventually allowed to leave rescue vessels
20th of August
After almost three weeks at sea, the Spanish rescue ship Open Arms can add to the Italian island of Lampedusa. The ship has been banned by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini from adding to an Italian port. The 80 migrants on board are allowed to leave the ship after an Italian prosecutor has decided to leave ashore because of the difficult situation on board with riots and suicide threats. Salvini has refused to let migrants ashore despite the fact that six EU countries have offered to receive them. Italian prosecutors have launched an investigation into Salvini’s handling of the case.
Prime Minister Conte resigns
20th of August
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announces that he will resign after condemning Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s attempt to secure a new election (see August 8). The government cooperation between the Five Star Movement and Lega has long cracked down. At the same time, Salvini’s party Lega is leading the polls and the chances of Salvini being able to become prime minister for a new government seems good. Prime Minister Conte, however, believes that Salvini has acted irresponsibly when he declared two weeks ago that Lega wanted to withdraw from government cooperation and subsequently initiated a distrust vote against Conte in the Senate. It is now up to President Sergio Mattarella to try to resolve the situation either by establishing a new government or by announcing new elections.
Salvini wants new elections
The government ends up in a new crisis after the Five Star Movement has voted against a rail project supported by the other government. The rail project, which has received EU funding, will link the French city of Lyon with Turin in Italy and include a tunnel over the five-mile stretch below the Alps. Part of the high-speed line has already begun to be built. The five-star movement, which considers that the train line is not only harmful for environmental reasons but is also a waste of state resources, has tried a few days earlier to get the Senate to stop the project. Interior Minister Salvini and Lega believe that the train line will lead to new jobs and increase economic growth. Because of the conflict between the two government parties, Salvini turns to Prime Minister Giuseppe to call for re-election.
Government decree on fines for migrant vessels
The government adopts a decree that private relief organizations that rescue distressed migrants in the Mediterranean can be penalized with fines if their vessels add to Italian ports after receiving orders not to travel on Italian waters. Those responsible for the vessels can pay between € 10,000 and € 50,000 in fines.
Largest in the EU elections
Interior Minister Salvini’s party Lega receives the most votes in the European elections. It is a great success for the party and Salvini. According to preliminary results, the party receives just over 34 percent of the vote and 28 seats in the Europe of Nations and Freedoms (ENF) group. In second place will be the opposition party Democratic Party (PD), which looks to get close to 23 percent of the vote and 18 seats in the parliamentary group Progressive Social Democrats (S&D). The second government party, the Five Star Movement, comes first in third place with about 17 percent of the vote and 14 seats in the European Parliamentary Freedom and Democracy Group (EFDD). Forza Italia looks to have about 7 seats (European People’s Party, EPP),
Boat migrants are allowed to land
Despite the government’s restrictive migration policy, media reports that close to tens of migrants have been allowed to land are scattered. 60 migrants rescued by a rescue boat on the Mediterranean have been helped in Italy, another 70 boat migrants are picked up by Italian coastguard off the island of Lampedusa, while 36 distressed migrants are allowed to enter Italian soil since four EU countries promised to receive some of them.
The Catholic Church can take care of 600 refugees
The Ministry of the Interior announces that it has given green light to receive 600 asylum seekers from Niger, Jordan and Ethiopia over a two-year period. The refugees will be allowed to fly to Italy and they will be accommodated and taken care of by the Catholic Church.
Italy receives 147 refugees
Italy receives 147 refugees transported by air from Libya. Nearly half of the refugees are children and young people from several African countries. They have been evacuated after the recent flare-up violence and unrest in Libya. The reason why Italy accepts the refugees is, according to Interior Minister Salvini, that they flee from war and that they are women and children.
Italy enters into an agreement on Silk Road projects with China
Italy is the first of the G7 countries to join China’s investment in so-called new Silk Road. During a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping, the countries enter into 29 different agreements totaling $ 2.5 billion. These include agreements in energy, agriculture and finance, and a number of Italian companies will operate in the Chinese market. At the same time, China will have access to and participate in expanding the ports of Trieste and Genoa.
The Senate blocks trial against Salvini
The Senate votes in favor of a recommendation not to allow Interior Minister Salvini to stand trial for abuse of power and kidnapping when he refused to allow boat migrants to land in summer 2018 (see August 2018). A Senate commission that handles elections and immunity issues has recommended that the trial should not take place. 237 out of 61 members of the Senate support the proposal. A Sicilian court has wanted to raise the case against Salvini (see January 2019) and a special ministerial tribunal consisting of three randomly selected judges has ordered that a legal process against Salvini be initiated. However, Parliament can stop a trial if the MEPs believe that a minister has acted in the interests of the state and should therefore have immunity, which has now happened in the Senate.
The Democratic Party gets new leader
4th of March
The Democratic Party (PD) elects Nicola Zingaretti as new party leader. It has taken over a year for the party to appoint a new leader since Matteo Renzi resigned in March 2018 following the defeat in the parliamentary elections.
End of the conflict between Italy and France
The diplomatic quarrel between Italy and France comes to an end after a telephone conversation between Italian President Sergio Mattarella and President Emmanuel Macron. Shortly thereafter, France sends back its ambassador to Rome. At the same time, Mattarella receives an invitation to meet Macron in Paris. Luigi Di Maio’s party At the same time, the Five-Star Movement is openly refraining from cooperating with the Yellow West, which is believed to be propagating violence.
Tens of thousands demonstrating against the government
Mass demonstrations are held in Rome against the seated populace government. Several unions are behind the protests against the government’s strict immigration policy and racism in the country, as well as against unemployment and inequality. According to some media sources, close to 200,000 people participate in the demonstrations.
France calls home its ambassador
According to the French Foreign Ministry, the French ambassador to Italy is called home for “consultations” after Vice Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio met with members of the Yellow West. The French Government considers that Di Maio, as representative of the Italian Government, has interfered in France’s “internal affairs”. Di Maio defends the meeting that his party The Five Star Movement has the right to form alliances with French parties in the same way that French President Macron’s party En Marche can cooperate with the center-left opposition in Italy. Since the right-wing government’s entry last year, relations between Italy and France have deteriorated.
The IMF criticizes planned welfare reforms
6th of February
The government’s major investments during the year to partly lower the retirement age and partly to introduce a basic income receive criticism from the IMF. According to the organization, the pension proposal will reduce the already high expenditures for pensions in the state budget and in addition lead to a reduction in the workforce. At the same time, the IMF believes that the basic income of € 780 to be introduced for the country’s poorest needs to be sharply lowered. Otherwise, it risks causing people to become dependent on contributions instead of being encouraged to look for a job.
The economy in recession
Official statistics show that the Italian economy went into a recession during the last quarter of 2018. GDP then fell by 0.2 percent. The figures for the period July – September were also minus 0.1%. According to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the decline was mainly due to the ongoing global trade disputes. Other analysts believed that confidence in economic policy was negatively affected by the budget outbreak with the EU in the autumn (see October-December 2018).
Asylum reception is closed
The large center for asylum seekers, Castelnuovo di Porto, north of Rome, will be closed as part of the new tougher immigration legislation introduced at the end of 2018. The law removes, among other things, the possibility of obtaining a two-year residence permit for humanitarian reasons, something like a quarter of the asylum seekers in Italy were awarded 2018. According to the new law, the treatment of asylum applications must also be changed, which is one of the reasons why receptions such as Castelnuovo are closed. The authorities are criticized for the harsh methods used in connection with the closure. Only 300 of the asylum-seeking migrants at the reception have been relocated to other hospitals. Migrants, including many families, have not been alerted to the closure, but children are forced to quickly quit school and leave their friends. About two hundred of Castelnuovo’s residents have nowhere to go because they lost their two-year residence permit. They are now considered to be in the country illegally and should be sent back to their home countries.
Court: “Salvini can face trial for kidnapping”
A Sicilian court announces that Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing nationalist Lega, may face trial for kidnapping of migrants. In August, Salvini refused to allow 177 migrants on an Italian rescue vessel to land ashore after being rescued on the Mediterranean. The migrants were allowed to stay on board the Italian rescue vessel for over a week before the Catholic Church in the country decided to accept some refugees while Ireland and Albania received the rest (see August 2018). The Italian Parliament will now decide whether to face Salvini before trial or if the trial should be postponed.
Diplomatic quarrel between Italy and France
The French Foreign Ministry calls on Italy’s ambassador to protest against Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio urging the EU to impose sanctions on France for its “colonial policies in Africa”. Relations between the countries have become worse since the Lega and Five Star Movement formed government in Italy. The migration issue in particular has caused problems. France has criticized the Italian government for not accepting rescue vessels with migrants and the Italian government has in turn criticized the French for sending migrants back to Italy. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has called Emmanuel Macron a “terrible president” and, along with di Maio, has shown strong support for the French protest movement “The Yellow West”.
Berlusconi is running for the EU elections
Silvio Berlusconi announces that he will run for office in the European elections in May. The scandalous former prime minister until last year was not allowed to hold any public office in the country because he was convicted of tax offenses. Now he wants to try his luck at the European level where, with his “experience and ability to convince” he believes he “can play an important role in getting European citizens to understand that we risk getting away from Western values”.
Regional gas forum is formed
Seven countries in the eastern Mediterranean agree to establish regional cooperation on gas extraction, with the Cairo office. Those behind the Eastern Mediterranean gas forum, which will be the organization’s name, are Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Natural gas has been found in several places in the eastern Mediterranean in recent years and some of the countries already have bilateral extraction agreements.
Salvini overrun in migrant agreement
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini loses a dust on Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s reception of migrants. From the outset, Salvini has objected to Italy receiving migrants from Malta, but may give way. An agreement is made with Malta, Germany, France and six other EU countries to allow 49 migrants from two rescue vessels to land in Malta. The vessels have been refused to add to ports in both Italy and Malta since the end of December. At the same time, the agreement also reached an agreement on the division of an additional 249 rescued migrants who have previously been in Malta.