Italy is a parliamentary republic with a head of government - the prime minister - appointed by the president and a head of state - the president. The Parliament is composed of 2 houses: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. The country is subdivided into 20 regions. 5 of these have a special autonomous status, enabling them to pass legislation on some local matters.
The most important sectors of Italy’s economy in 2016 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (20.9 %), industry (19.3 %) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (16.9 %).
Intra-EU trade accounts for 56% of Italy’s exports (Germany 13%, France 11% and United Kingdom and Spain 5 % each), while outside the EU 9% go to the United States and 5% to Switzerland.
In terms of imports, 61% come from EU Member States (Germany 16%, France 9% and the Netherlands 6%), while outside the EU 7% come from China and 4% from the United States.
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Italian government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of Italian presidencies:
Jul-Dec 1959 | Jul-Dec 1962 | Jul-Dec 1965 | Jul-Dec 1968 | Jul-Dec 1971 | Jul-Dec 1975 | Jan-Jun 1980 | Jan-Jun 1985 | Jul-Dec 1990 | Jan-Jun 1996 | Jul-Dec 2003 | Jul-Dec 2014
The following link is a redirection to an external websiteCurrent presidency of the Council of the EU
The Commissioner nominated by Italy to the European Commission is Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
Italy has 24 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
Italy has 23 representatives on the European Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Italy also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Italy's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa. The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.
Breakdown of Italy’s finances with the EU in 2017:
More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
The money paid into the EU budget by Italy helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how Italy benefits from EU funding.