Democracy and rights
Italy is considered a democracy and a rule of
law. There is a strong protection of human rights in the
country's legislation and the media has an independent
position and can operate freely.
All citizens have the right to vote in parliamentary
elections, which are usually carried out under free and
fair forms. The Italians can, without hindrance, form,
participate in and organize meetings in one of the
country's many political parties or in the rich social
life. The law guarantees groups that speak some minority
language representation in parliament if they receive at
least 20 percent of the votes in their constituencies,
while the proportion of MPs of the same gender may
exceed 60 percent. Nevertheless, there was a shortage of
women in parliament after the 2018 elections: about 35
percent of parliamentarians were women. Even in
political life in general, women play an even more
obscure role than men, and issues relating to women's
rights and status tend to fall further down the agenda.
The same applies to subjects related to the country's
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Italy, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
The right-wing populist government, which ruled the
country from spring 2018 to September 2019, pursued a
tough immigration policy that led observers to warn of
the risk of undermining civil rights. The government -
under the leadership of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini,
party leader of the right-wing extremist Lega - set out
to deny relief organizations' vessels with distressed
migrants access to the country's ports (see Current
Policy). Michele Bachelet, head of the UN Commission on
Human Rights, strongly criticized the rejection of the
rescue vessels, saying it had "serious consequences for
those most vulnerable."
A new immigration and security law from 2018 also
made it easier to expel migrants and to restrict the
right to a residence permit. More recently, racial
violence in society and threats to Roma minorities have
also become more common. In the fall of 2019, a new
government took office in the country (see Current
Corruption is a significant societal problem and
there are still links between the mafia and government
employees as well as politicians and businessmen.
Parliament passed a new law in 2017 that would make
anti-corruption more effective. Italy has long been
among the countries in the EU that receive the lowest
rating in Transparency International's annual index of
corruption in the countries of the world. In 2018, Italy
ranked 53 out of 180 countries (see here).
Freedom of expression and media
Italy's Constitution guarantees freedom of expression
and freedom of the press. Defamation is prohibited and
can result in a three-year prison sentence. The
legislation has been criticized for restricting freedom
of expression, something that the European Court of
Justice also concluded in a 2013 ruling, according to
the Foreign Ministry's country report on human rights.
It is also classified as a crime to blaspheme, which
can lead to fines.
The media can generally work without formal obstacles.
However, journalists who report corruption and other
crime happen to be subject to harassment and death
threats. Political influence and the strong
concentration of ownership in the media world are other
problems that contribute to Italy's often being lower
than other Western European countries in Reporters
Without Borders' annual survey of press freedom in the
countries of the world. However, the country has
improved its ranking since 2016 (see the Press Freedom
Organization Reporters Without Borders list here). At
the same time, threats and harassment by journalists are
said to have increased in recent years, according to
press freedom organizations, not least from supporters
of the Five Star Movement. Some journalists have also
needed 24/7 police surveillance because of threats from
the mafia or various political extremist groups.
There is legislation that gives citizens access to
public documents. But the UN Human Rights Committee
(which oversees the United Nations Civic and Civil
Rights Convention) has recommended that the country
ensure greater compliance with the law.
There are no restrictions on freedom of expression on
the internet and no censorship exists.
Judicial system and legal security
The judiciary has an independent position, but it is
characterized by some problems. Not least, trials can go
out in time and sometimes last for several years. The
European Court of Justice has on several occasions
convicted Italy for failing to conclude trials within a
reasonable time, which means that the plaintiff is then
entitled to damages in accordance with Italian law.
Italy has also been criticized by human rights
organizations for the conditions in prisons, which are
Monti forms a new alliance
Monti a new alliance of middle parties that will go to elections on joint
lists. Monti claims to be willing to lead a possible center government.
The government is leaving
Prime Minister Mario Monti resigns after Parliament adopts the 2013 budget.
At the same time, Berlusconi announces plans to post in the upcoming new
elections in February, a message that creates political and financial concerns
The government loses support
The people of freedom announce that the party intends to withdraw its support
for the government as soon as the budget is adopted later in December.
Tax evasion brings prison
Former Prime Minister Berlusconi is sentenced to prison for tax evasion for
the sale of film rights in his television company Mediaset. The sentence of four
years in prison is shortened to one year according to an amnesty law. Berlusconi
is prohibited from holding public office for five years and running the company
for three years, and he and the co-accused have to replace the tax authority
with ten million euros. Berlusconi refuses to be involved in tax fraud, and he
describes the sentence in the six-year-old case as political. He threatens to
overthrow the Monti government but does not support it in his party. Berlusconi
appeals later and the term of imprisonment is short, which reduces the
likelihood of him serving the prison sentence.
Valallians on the left
The Democratic Party forms a valiant alliance with, among others, the
environmental party Left Ecology Freedom and the Italian Socialist Party.
Battle of the Mafia
The government sets aside the entire city council in the province of
Calabria's capital, Reggio Calabria. The reason is said to be that the southern
Italian mafia organization Ndranghetan had too much influence over the members.
New savings package
Parliament votes on austerity measures for € 26 billion over three years in
health care, public administration and more. One tenth of the public employees
must be laid off.
Prime Minister Monti is successful at the EU summit in Brussels, which
decides that euro area countries can receive rapid support from the EU crisis
fund without negotiating harsh conditions. The EU is also taking steps towards a
banking union, which could lead to future euro bonds with the same interest rate
for crisis countries as Italy and strong economies like Germany's.
Protest Party wins elections
Left and protest parties are having success in local elections, which is seen
as an expression of dissatisfaction with the government's economic tightening
but also with corruption scandals. Former Prime Minister Berlusconi's Party of
the People of Liberty and the scandal-ridden Federation North (see April
2012) are doing very poorly in the elections, while comedian and
blogger Beppe Grillo is making strong progress with his protest group Five Star
Bossi is forced to resign
Former Prime Minister Berlusconi's ally Umberto Bossi is forced to step down
as party leader of the Northern Italian populist party Federation Nord, since
party money is suspected to have gone to Bossi's family. The scandal means that
leading politicians are excluded from the party. Prosecutors are also
investigating suspicions of links to organized crime.
Police strike Naples mafia
The police carry out a large anti-mafia operation in Naples. Assets worth
more than $ 1.3 billion are seized and 16 judges arrested are accused of
receiving bribery of the mafia.
The union is leading protests against the government's proposal for labor
market reform, which among other things will make it easier for companies to
dismiss workers. According to the government, more flexible rules should promote
growth and productivity, and make it easier for young people and women to enter
the labor market.
After five years of legal proceedings, a court dismisses a lawsuit against
Prime Minister Berlusconi where he is accused of bribing his tax lawyer for
falsely testifying in two trials. Any crime is considered prescriptive.
Interest rates on Italian bond loans are falling significantly, a positive
sign in the government's fight against the economic crisis.
Increased fuel tax riots
From Sicily, a protest spread across Italy against the government's
tightening and raising taxes on petrol and diesel. Truck drivers block roads and
taxi drivers strike. The criticism is harsh against the government's proposal to
deregulate taxi companies, pharmacies and banks in an attempt to create more
jobs through increased competition.