The ‘boot’ of Europe in Southern Europe is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. The capital, Rome, was once the centre of the political empire that controlled most of the continent. Nowadays, Italy’s populist parties are confronting the European Union.

There are two Italys both culturally and economically; one in the south and one in the north. The countryis divided into 20 regions, 110 provinces, and 8000 municipalities (or ‘comuni’). The constitution grantsthem “legislative powers in all subject matters that are not expressly covered by State legislation,” which in practice doesn’t amount to much. Socially, the industrialised north, and the deprived south – partly controlled by the mafia – have caused complications. Travelling to the north and the south is oftendescribed as being in two different countries.

Political situation

2018 was a turbulent year in Italian politics. After the general election in March, no political party won anoutright majority. This led to nearly three months of negotiations between the two biggest party groups;the centre-right coalition with Lega Nord (or The League) in the front, led by Matteo Salvini, and Movimento 5 stelle (or Five Star Movement) lead by Luigi Di Maio. Both the League and the Five StarMovement are considered populist nationalist parties.

On May 31, 2018, law professor Giuseppe Conte became prime minister with support from both the coalition lead by The League, and the Five Star Movement. Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio were both appointed vice- prime ministers. Giuseppe Conte was any party allegiance.

It didn’t take long before the newly formed Italian government put up a fight with the EU over their budget. Simply put, during the autumn of 2018 the Italian government presented a draft budget plan with a very high budget deficit target, much higher than all EU member states agreed on in the Stability and Growth pact, thus putting the EU economy at risk. Again.

Religion to refugees

Italy has a very long and famous history with the Roman Empire ruling most of Europe. During this time Christianity was announced as the dominant religion, and Saint Peter was appointed the first Pope, or Bishop of Rome, in 30 AD. Much of Italy’s current culture and fame comes from this history.

Italy’s population is more than 90% Italian, however there are still many migrants and asylum seekers entering the country each year. The rate of migration to Italy has slowly decreased over the last ten years, but is rising again. In contrast, the rate of asylum seekers soared over the last 10 years, but has dropped dramatically since 2017.

But immigrants are not the only ones going to Italy. Millions of tourists are flying in every year, and locals in cities such as Venice and Rome have had enough of the mass tourism, protesting against themruining their city. Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors in Italy, and in 2011, the ItalianGovernment allowed for municipalities and regions to introduce a tourist tax. But still, the number of tourists is increasing.