Foreign relations of Italy
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Foreign relations of the Italian Republic are the Italian government's external relations with the outside world. Located in Europe, Italy has been considered a major Western power since its unification in 1861. Its main allies are the NATO countries and the EU states, two entities of which Italy is a founding member.
Italy has a particular role within the Christian world because Rome is the seat of the Pope and the center of the Catholic Church. Italy acts as a mediator in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and has many troops deployed in the Middle East, and all over the world for peacekeeping missions, and for combating organized crime, illegal drug trade, human trafficking, piracy and terrorism. Italy is currently commanding various multinational forces. The country plays also a significant role in former colonies and territories of the Italian Empire and is considered a key player in the Mediterranean region.
History [ edit ]
The Risorgimento was the era 1830–1870 that saw the emergence of a national consciousness. Italians achieved independence from Austria, the House of Bourbon and from the Pope, securing national unification. The papacy called France to resist unification, fearing that giving up control of the Papal States would weaken the Church and allow the liberals to dominate conservative Catholics. Italy captured Rome in 1870 and later formed the Triple Alliance (1882) with Germany and Austria.
Italy defeated the Ottoman Empire in 1911–1912. By 1914, Italy had acquired in Africa a colony on the Red Sea coast (Eritrea), a large protectorate in Somalia and administrative authority in formerly Turkish Libya. Outside of Africa, Italy possessed a small concession in Tientsin in China (following the Boxer Rebellion) and the Dodecanese Islands off the coast of Turkey.
Austria took the offensive against the terms of the alliance and Italy decided to take part in World War I as a principal allied power with France and Great Britain. Two leaders, Prime Minister Antonio Salandra and Foreign Minister Sidney Sonnino made the decisions; their primary motivation was seizure of territory from Austria, as secretly promised by Britain and France in the Treaty of London of 1915. Also, Italy occupied southern Albania and established a protectorate over Albania, which remained in place until 1920. The Allies defeated the Austrian Empire in 1918 and Italy became one of the main winners of the war. At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando focused almost exclusively on territorial gains, but he got far less than he wanted, and Italians were bitterly resentful when they were denied control of the city of Fiume The conference, under the control of Britain, France and the United States refused to assign Dalmazia and Albania to Italy as had been promised in the Treaty of London. Britain, France and Japan divided the German overseas colonies into mandates of their own, excluding Italy. Italy also gained no territory from the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Civil unrest erupted in Italy between nationalists who supported the war effort and opposed what they called the "mutilated victory" (as nationalists referred to it) and leftists who were opposed to the war.
The Fascist government that came to power with Benito Mussolini in 1922 sought to increase the size of the Italian empire and to satisfy the claims of Italian irredentists. In 1935–36, in its second invasion of Ethiopia Italy was successful and merged its new conquest with its older east African colonies. In 1939, Italy invaded Albania and incorporated it into the Fascist state. During the Second World War (1939–45), Italy formed the axis alliance with Japan and Germany and occupied several territories (such as parts of France, Greece, Egypt and Tunisia) but was forced in the final peace to abandon all its colonies and protectorates. Following the civil war and the economic depression caused by World War II, Italy enjoyed an economic miracle, promoted European unity, joined NATO and became an active member of the European Union. Italy was granted a United Nations trust to administer Somaliland in 1950. When Somalia became independent in 1960, Italy's eight-decade experience with colonialism ended.
Relations by region and country [ edit ]
Africa [ edit ]
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Algeria||See Algeria–Italy relations|
|Egypt||See Egypt–Italy relations
Relations between both countries were established during the period of the Roman Empire. However, in World War II, relations were strained as Italy invaded Egypt. However, after the war, relations were re-established and are close. Egypt has representations in Rome and Milan, while Italy has representations in Cairo and Alexandria, also the two nations are members of the Union for the Mediterranean.
Relations deteriorated after the abduction and killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni. Egypt has been accused by Italian authorities and public opinion of lacking of transparence.
|Ethiopia||See Ethiopia–Italy relations|
|Kenya||1963||See Italy–Kenya relations|
|Libya||1947, 2011||See Italy–Libya relations
|Somalia||See Italy–Somalia relations|
Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1962.
Americas [ edit ]
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Argentina||1837||See Argentina–Italy relations|
|Belize||1 October 1982|
|Brazil||1861||See Brazil–Italy relations|
|Canada||1947||See Canada–Italy relations
|Chile||1864||See Chile–Italy relations|
|Colombia||1847||See Colombia–Italy relations|
Both countries established diplomatic relations on 12 April 1967.
|Mexico||1874||See Italy–Mexico relations
|United States||1861–04-11||See Italy–United States relations
The United States enjoys a peculiar relation with Italy, as the latter, defeated in WWII, has been a secret battlefield of the Cold War. Italy and the US are NATO allies and cooperate in the United Nations, in various regional organizations, and bilaterally. Italy has worked closely with the United States and with other nations on such issues as NATO and UN operations as well as with assistance to Russia and the New Independent States; the Middle East peace process; multilateral talks.
Under longstanding bilateral agreements flowing from NATO membership, Italy hosts important U.S. military forces at Vicenza and Livorno (army); Aviano (air force); and Sigonella, Gaeta, and Naples- home port for the U.S. Navy Sixth Fleet. The United States still has about 16,000 military personnel stationed in Italy. The NATO War College is situated at Cecchignola, a neighborhood of Rome.
Also, investigations continue about the killing of Italian Military Intelligence service officer Nicola Calipari by United States troops during the liberation of Giuliana Sgrena and about the abduction and torture of terrorism suspect Abu Omar by CIA agents.
|Uruguay||1861||See Italy–Uruguay relations
|Venezuela||1861||See Italy–Venezuela relations
Asia [ edit ]
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Azerbaijan||See Azerbaijan–Italy relations|
Relations between two countries have been wonderful. Bangladesh is a huge import market for Italy. Italy has an embassy in Dhaka. Bangladesh has an embassy in Rome.
|China||1970||See People's Republic of China – Italy relations
In 2005, Italy and the People's Republic of China have celebrated the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations. However, China's massive exports of textile and footwear into Italy are said to be a rising concern to Italy's economy and productivity.
|Georgia||See Georgia–Italy relations
|India||1950||See Foreign relations of India#Italy
In 2012, relations deteriorated following the Enrica Lexie Case
|Indonesia||1952||See Indonesia–Italy relations
|Iran||See Iran–Italy relations
Iran-Italy trade stood at $US 2.7 Billion in 2001 and 3.852 Billion Euros in 2003. In 2005, Italy was the third largest trading partner of Iran with 7.5% of all exports to Iran. Italy was the top trading partner of Iran in the European Union in early 2006. Commercial exchanges hit 6 billion euros in 2008. Although Italy harbors a large population of members of the MKO as do many European Union states, Italy officially considers the group a terrorist organization.
|Iraq||See Iraq–Italy relations|
|Israel||1948||See Israel–Italy relations|
|Kazakhstan||1992||See Italy-Kazakhstan relations
|Lebanon||See Italy–Lebanon relations
|Malaysia||See Italy–Malaysia relations|
|North Korea||2000-01-04||See Italy–North Korea relations|
|Philippines||1947||See Italy–Philippines relations
|Qatar||See Italy–Qatar relations|
|South Korea||26 June 1884||See Italy – South Korea relations
The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Italian Republic and the Republic of Korea began on 26 June 1884 and Re establishment of Diplomatic Relations was on November 24, 1956.
Europe [ edit ]
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Albania||1912||See Albania–Italy relations
The Kingdom of Italy supported Albanian Declaration of Independence in 1912.
|Austria||See Austria–Italy relations
|Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Bulgaria||1879||See Bulgaria–Italy relations|
|Croatia||1992-01-17||See Croatia–Italy relations
|Denmark||See Denmark-Italy relations|
|Finland||See Finland–Italy relations
|France||See France–Italy relations
|Germany||See Germany–Italy relations
|Greece||1861||See Greece–Italy relations
In modern times, both countries established diplomatic relations in 1861, immediately upon Italy's unification.
|Holy See||See Holy See – Italy relations
Due to the size of the Vatican City State, embassies accredited to the Holy See are based on Italian territory. Treaties signed between Italy and the Vatican City State permit such embassages. The Embassy of Italy to the Holy See is unique amongst foreign embassages in that it is the only embassy based on its home territory.
The Holy See maintains formal diplomatic relations with 176 sovereign states, the European Union, and the Order of Malta; 69 of the diplomatic missions accredited to the Holy See are situated in Rome, though those countries than have two embassies in the same city, since, by agreement between the Holy See and Italy, the same person cannot be accredited simultaneously to both. This is shown clearly by the fact that Italy recognizes the People's Republic of China, and as such, the Chinese Embassy is in Rome. However, the Vatican City State recognizes the Taiwan, and as such, Taiwan's embassy to the Holy See is also in Rome. As Italy was the first country to recognize the Holy See as a sovereign nation, their embassy was the first one established.
|Kosovo||See Italian–Kosovan relations|
|Malta||See Italy–Malta relations
|Moldova||See Moldova-Italy relations
|Monaco||See Italy-Monaco relations
|Poland||1919||See Italy–Poland relations
|Romania||1873-04-23||See Italy–Romania relations
|Russia||See Italy–Russia relations
Russia has an embassy in Rome and consulates in Genoa, Milan and Palermo, and Italy has an embassy in Moscow, a consulate in Saint Petersburg, two consulte generals (in Ekaterinburg and Kaliningrad), and two embassy branches in (Samara and Volgograd). Both countries are full members of the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Russia enjoys close relations with Italy. In 2006, Russia and Italy have signed a protocol of cooperation for fighting crime and defending civil liberties. There are close commercial ties between the two countries. Italy is Russia's second important commercial partner in the EU, after Germany. and its state-owned energy company, ENI, has recently signed a very important long-term contract with Gazprom, to import Russian gas into Italy.
The relationship between Russia and Italy goes back a long way. Already in the 1960s, Italy's FIAT built a car-assembling plant in the Soviet city of Tolyatti (a city named after the Italian Communist Party's secretary Palmiro Togliatti). Russians have always visited Italy in great numbers. Many Russian students come to Italy each year to study arts and music. Unlike many other Western European countries, Italy has traditionally always maintained good relationships with Russia, even during the Soviet era. In particular, the Silvio Berlusconi Government (2001–2006) strengthened Italy's ties with Russia, due to his personal friendship with President Vladimir Putin. Cooperation extends also to the aviation sector, between Italy's Alenia and Russia's Sukhoi, who are jointly developing a new aircraft. Finally, for a long time Italy had the largest communist party in the Western world, with over 2 million members. .
|Spain||See Italy–Spain relations
Both countries established diplomatic relations after the unification of Italy. Relations between Italy Spain have remained strong and affable for centuries owing to various political, cultural, and historical connections between the two nations.
|Switzerland||See Switzerland – Italy relations|
|United Kingdom||See Italy – United Kingdom relations
Although enemies during World War II, the United Kingdom and Italy have generally enjoyed a warm and friendly relationship throughout history. Both states embrace membership of the European Union, NATO, OSCE and the G8
Between 4 and 5 million British tourists visit Italy every year, while 1 million Italian tourists visit the UK. There are about 19,000 British nationals living in Italy, and 700,000 Italians living in the UK, half of them registered at AIRE (anagraphic of Italian citizens living abroad).
Oceania [ edit ]
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Australia||See Australia–Italy relations
|Samoa||25 May 1987||
Both countries established diplomatic relations on May 25, 1987.
International institutions [ edit ]
Italy is part of the UN, EU, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE the DAC, the WTO, the G6, G7, G8, G10, G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, the Central European Initiative, the ASEM, the MEF. Italy leads the Uniting for Consensus and participates in prominent decision-making groups such as the EU big four, the Quint and the Contact Group.
See also [ edit ]
- Diplomatic history of World War II#Italy
- International relations of the Great Powers (1814–1919)
- List of diplomatic missions in Italy
- List of diplomatic missions of Italy
- Treaty of Osimo
- Treaty of Rapallo
- Visa requirements for Italian citizens
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Further reading [ edit ]
- Azzi, Stephen Corrado. "The Historiography of Fascist Foreign Policy," Historical Journal (1993) 36#1 pp. 187–203 in JSTOR
- Bosworth, Richard. Italy and the wider world 1860-1960 (2013) excerpt
- Bosworth, Richard. Italy: The Least of the Great Powers: Italian Foreign Policy Before the First World War (1979)
- Bosworth, Richard. Mussolini (2002) excerpt and text search
- Burgwyn, H. James. The legend of the mutilated victory: Italy, the Great War, and the Paris Peace Conference, 1915-1919 (1993).
- Burgwyn, H. James. Italian Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period, 1918-1940 (1997) excerpt and text search
- Cassels, Alan. Italian Foreign Policy, 1918-1945: A Guide to Research and Research Materials (1997)
- Chabod, Federico. Italian Foreign Policy (1996) excerpt and text search
- Faherty, Douglas M. Italian Foreign Policy: Trends for the Twenty-First Century (2012) excerpt
- Gooch, John. Mussolini and his Generals: The Armed Forces and Fascist Foreign Policy, 1922-1940 (2007) excerpt and text search
- Lowe, C. J. and F. Marzari. Italian Foreign Policy, 1870-1940 (2001)
- Maurizio Marinelli, Giovanni Andornino, Italy's Encounter with Modern China: Imperial dreams, strategic ambitions, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
- Maurizio Marinelli, "The Genesis of the Italian Concession in Tianjin: A Combination of Wishful Thinking and Realpolitik". Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 15 (4), 2010: 536-556.
- Sette, Alessandro. "L'Albania nella strategia diplomatica italiana (1871-1915)", Nuova Rivista Storica, Vol. CII, n. 1 (2018), 321-378.
- Smith, Denis Mack. Modern Italy: A Political History (1997)
- Taylor, A.J.P. The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848–1918 (1954), covers all European diplomacy