Italy Has Become Two Countries

Italy’s economic north-south divide has become political.

An Italian flag in Sardinia, April 22, 2007
An Italian flag in Sardinia, April 22, 2007 (Stefano Sassu)

In my latest story for the Diplomatic Courier, I argue that Italy’s economic north-south divide has become political.

The far-right League, which Matteo Salvini has transformed into Italy’s version of the National Front, is the biggest party in the north, where incomes are 10-14 percent above the European average. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement is the biggest party in the south, including on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, where incomes are barely above the level in Greece.

These two parties now rule Italy in a coalition government.

Ideally, their collaboration would heal geographical divisions and complete the unification of Italy that started a century and a half ago.

More likely, it will succumb to infighting among inexperienced politicians who share little more than a common enemy: the EU.

Click here to read the whole thing.