|Sergio Mattarella (Independent, since January 2015)
Paolo Gentiloni (S&D – since December 2016)
|Size||301,338 km² (116,306 sq. miles)|
|MEPs||73 (joined the EU in 1958)|
|Next presidential election
Next legislative election
Following a constitutional referendum on 4 December 2016, former PM of Italy Matteo Renzi resigned and a new government was formed. Italy may go to early elections already in 2017.
|Presidency of the Council||January – June 2028|
|Last meeting with Theresa May||9 February 2017|
|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 Gentiloni 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.”
Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mario Giro on 30 January 2017
“We have to negotiate with patience, calm, we have to be honest to each other, and also we have to use fair play,” “Because if we don’t do it like this, if we act from the belly, with revenge, with sentiments, we will all be in trouble.”
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.”
“We all know that [Brexit] negotiations will be difficult because, when you see the European treaties, they are thousands of pages [long]”
|Italy’s priorities||Mr Gentiloni took over as Prime Minister from Matteo Renzi who resigned late 2016 because he lost a referendum on constitutional reforms. The new PM is now tasked to draw up a new electoral law, so elections can take place as soon as possible.
Furthermore, the current Government’s aim is to guarantee stability, also internationally, and to steady Italy’s banking system.
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. These issues have increased resistance from the euro-sceptic populist 5-Star-Movement running up to the elections.
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