|Sergio Mattarella (Independent, since January 2015)
Giuseppe Conte (Independent, since June 2018)
|Size||301,338 km² (116,306 sq. miles)|
|MEPs||73 (joined the EU in 1958)|
|Next presidential election
Next legislative election
|Presidency of the Council||January – June 2028|
|Last meeting with Theresa May||3 June 2018|
|Brexit priorities||Relatively speaking, Italy does not trade much with the UK, so it is less exposed the economic consequences of a bad deal. However, due to its financial instability and reliance on a steady euro, the Italians will not want to jeopardise its trade and economic ties.
The Italian Government’s main priority is to preserve the EU-27, while also guaranteeing the rights of hundreds of Italian citizens living in the UK.
As the country is currently overwhelmed by the influx of refugees, the Italian Government might take the opportunity to request more assistance from the UK in managing its crisis.
|What Mr Conte said on Brexit||Former Prime Minister Renzi on 27 July 2016
“It’s a decision that was made by the British people and we respect it, however painful it is. Now we have to deal with it with common sense.”
Prime Minister Gentiloni on 9 February 2017
“We know it will not be an easy negotiation, but we also know that we have to deal with it, and this will be the Italian approach, in a friendly and constructive way. We have no interest in disruptive talks.”
Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano on 29 March 2017
Negotiations “must not be punitive, the approach must not be to punish London.” “We want to show that they have not done a good deal, but it must clear that [the UK] is leaving the EU and not Europe.”
Prime Minister Gentiloni on 20 April 2017
“We Italians are in favour of a fair approach because we don’t need revenge … to demonstrate that if you go out of the EU you’re punished.”
Prime Minister Gentiloni on 21 June 2017
“Italy is not in favour of either hard or soft Brexit. But there needs to be clarity between a country of such importance and the EU, particularly in terms of the rights and future of the hundreds of thousands of our citizens that call the UK home.”
Prime Minister Conte on 11 December 2018
“We need to underline the need for Britain to depart from the European Union in an orderly fashion,” “(But) we will continue to work with our European partners to prepare for the little-hoped-for scenario of an exit without a deal.”
|Italy’s priorities||On 4th March 2018, Parliamentary elections took place and produced a hung Parliament. The election saw the eurosceptic, anti-establishment Five Star Movement became the biggest party with 32% of the vote. Another big winner was Matteo Salvini’s party, League, with 17.6% of the vote. These two parties formed a coalition together, which is led by law professor Giuseppe Conte. Paolo Savona, a eurosceptic who President Mattarella rejected as Finance Minister, was appointed European Affairs Minister.
Priorities for the government are moving forward with pension and tax reform, setting up a universal basic income and tackling immigration.
Apart from addressing economic and social issues, Italy is also dealing with a refugee influx from North Africa. The Italian Government is working together with EU and North African partners to reduce the numbers of refugees crossing the sea. The refugee crisis is thought to have increased the popularity of the Five Start Movement and League party.
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