Foreign relations of Italy

Foreign relations of Italy

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Since its unification in 1861, Italy has been one of the most important and influential European countries. Its major allies are the United States, the other NATO countries (Italy was one of the founding countries of the organization in 1949), and the European Union (Italy also founded this organization in 1952 as European Coal and Steel Community). It has also got strong relations with Russia and the Northern African countries, especially with its ex-colony Libya, until Italy's intervention in the military intervention against the country in 2011.


Foreign relations

Italy was one of the Founding members of the European Community — now the European Union (EU). The country was admitted to the United Nations in 1955 and is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization (GATT/WTO), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the Council of Europe. It chaired the CSCE (the forerunner of the OSCE) in 1994, the EU in 1996, and the G8 in 2001, and held the EU presidency from July to December 2003.

Italy participated in and deployed troops in support of UN peacekeeping missions in Somalia, Mozambique, and East Timor and provides critical support for NATO and UN operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Albania. 1,000 Alpini troops were deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in February 2003. Italy also supported international efforts to reconstruct and stabilize Iraq through its military contingent of some 3,200 troops, as well as humanitarian workers and other officials. The troops remained in Iraq until December 2006 when they were retrieved by the Romano Prodi government.[citation needed]

In August 2006 Italy sent about 3,000 soldiers to Lebanon for the United Nations peacekeeping mission UNIFIL.[1] Furthermore, since 2 February 2007 an Italian, Claudio Graziano is the commander of the UN force in the country.

The Italian government seeks to obtain consensus with other European countries on various defense and security issues within the EU as well as NATO.[citation needed] European integration and the development of common defense and security policies will continue to be of primary interest to Italy.[citation needed]

In February 2007, Italy, Britain, Canada, Norway and Russia announced their funding commitments to launch a $1.5 billion project to help develop vaccines they said could save millions of lives in poor nations, and called on others to join them.[1]

Relations with the Pacific

On January 21, 2008, the Solomon Times reported that Italy had "pledged to convene an Italian-Pacific Islands Forum towards the end of 2008". The newspaper reported that Italy wished to "deepen [its] bilateral relations with Pacific Island countries". Italy has applied to be a dialogue partner of the Pacific Islands Forum, and attended a Forum meeting in Tonga in October 2007. A Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and the Pacific Islands countries exists as a commitment to provide development aid.[2] However, the fall of the Prodi government a few days after the publication of this article has left the future of Italy-Pacific Islands relations potentially uncertain.[citation needed]

Illegal immigration

Italian and Albanian authorities managed to basically stop the flow of illegal immigrants and human trafficking from the Albanian coast to Italy, that have acquired great significance toward the end of the last century.[citation needed]

From the beginning of the current century the most important flow of immigrants come from the coasts and the illegal organizations of Libya.[citation needed]

Relations by region and country


Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Austria See Austria–Italy relations

Austria has an embassy in Rome, a general consulate in Milan and 10 honorary consulates (in Bari, Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Naples, Palermo, Trieste, Turin, Venice and Verona). Italy has an embassy in Vienna, a consulate in Innsbruck, and 4 honorary consulates (in Graz, Klagenfurt, Linz and Salzburg).

  • Belarus has an embassy in Rome and 2 honorary consulates (in Naples and Turin).[3]
  • Italy has an embassy in Minsk.[4]
 Bulgaria 1879 See Bulgaria–Italy relations
 Croatia 1992-01-17 See Croatia–Italy relations
  • Croatia has an embassy in Rome, 2 general consulates (in Milan and Trieste), and 5 honorary consulates (in Bari, Florence, Montemitro, Naples, and Padua).[19]
  • Italy has an embassy in Zagreb, a general consulate inRijeka, a consulate in Split and 2 honorary consulates (in Buje and Pula).[20]
  • Both countries are full members of the Council of Europe and of the Union for the Mediterranean.
  • There are around 19,500 people of Italian descent living in Croatia.
  • There are 21,360 Croats living in Italy.
 Czech Republic
 Denmark See Denmark-Italy relations
 Finland See Foreign relations of Finland
 Germany See Foreign relations of Germany
 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 then 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

Italy recognized Kosovo on 21 February 2008.[29][30] Italy has an embassy in Pristina since 15 May 2008.[31] Kosovo will open an embassy in Rome.

 Latvia 1991-08-30
 Luxembourg 1902
 Malta See Italy–Malta relations
 Monaco See Italy-Monaco relations
 Montenegro 2006-06-14
 Poland 1919 See Italy–Poland relations
 Romania 1873-04-23
 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.[citation needed] Unlike many other Western European countries, Italy has traditionally always maintained good relationships with Russia, even during the Soviet era.[citation needed] 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 Sukhov, 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. .[48]

 Serbia 1879
 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
 Ukraine 1992
 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[52]

Between 4 and 5 million British tourists visit Italy every year, while 1 million Italian tourists visit the UK.[53] There are about 19,000 British nationals living in Italy, and 150,000 Italians living in the UK.[54]

 Yugoslavia See Italy–Yugoslavia relations

The Kingdoms of Italy and Yugoslavia have had increasingly turbulent relations during the 20th century.


Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Argentina See List of diplomatic missions of Argentina
 Chile 1864-01-20 See Foreign relations of Chile
  • Italy was recognized in 1864 by President José Joaquín Pérez and relations were established.
  • Relations were suspended in 1943 and re-established after the end of World War II.
  • Italy has an embassy in Santiago de Chile
  • Chile has an embassy in Rome, a consulate-general in Milan and 9 honorary consulates.
 Colombia See Foreign relations of Colombia
 Mexico 1946
  • Relations were established in 1846 after the unification of Italy. However relations were cut off and suspended during World War II. However in 1946 they were re-established.
  • Mexico has an embassy in Rome and a consulate-general in Milan
  • Italy has an embassy in Mexico City.
  • Both countries are members of the Latin Union and the G8+5.
  • There are estimated 300,000 Mexicans of Italian descent living in Mexico today.
  • During the 2009 Italian earthquake, Mexico,[59] offered assistance to Italy through the Topos de Tlatelolco search and rescue organization.
 Paraguay 1867
 Peru 1874-12-23
 United States See Italy–United States relations

The United States enjoy 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; Somalia and Mozambique peacekeeping; and combating drug trafficking, trafficking in women and children, and terrorism.[who?]

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, near 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.[citation needed]

 Uruguay 1861

Middle East and Africa

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 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.

 Iran See Iran–Italy relations

Iran-Italy trade stood at $US 2.7 Billion in 2001 [1] and 3.852 Billion Euros in 2003.[2] In 2005, Italy was the third largest trading partner of Iran with 7.5% of all exports to Iran.[3] Italy was the top trading partner of Iran in the European Union in early 2006.[67] Commercial exchanges hit 6 billion euros in 2008.[68] 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. [4]

 Iraq See Iraq–Italy relations

Iraq has an embassy in Rome and Italy has an embassy in Baghdad and a consulate-general in Basra.

 Israel 1948 See Israel–Italy relations
 Kenya 1963
  • Relations were formally established after Kenya gained its independence from British rule.
  • Italy has an embassy in Nairobi and 2 counsulates in Malindi and Mombasa.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Rome.
 Lebanon See Italy–Lebanon relations
 Libya 1947, 2011 See Italy–Libya relations
 South Africa 1929
 Tunisia 1957
 Turkey 1856

Asia and Oceania

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Afghanistan ~1919
  • Afghanistan has an embassy in Rome,[80] which was established as a legation in 1921, and was upgraded to embassy in 1960.[81] Italy has an embassy in Kabul.[82]
  • Italy was among the first nations to recognise Afghanistan's sovereignty, following the 1919 recognition by the Soviet Union.[83]
  • Following Germany's 1935 closening with Afghanistan, Italy also established close relations. Afghanistan resisted calls from Moscow and London to expel the Italian and German diplomatic corps for most of World War II.[84]
  • Italy has served as a place of exile for two former Afghan kings, Amanullah Khan (deposed 1929) and Mohammed Zahir Shah (deposed 1973).
 Australia See Australia–Italy relations
 Azerbaijan See Azerbaijan–Italy relations
 Georgia See Georgia–Italy relations
 India See Foreign_relations_of_India#Italy
 Japan 1913
 New Zealand
  • Pakistan and Italy enjoy close relationship in all fields. Both countries formally have friendly foreign relations.[101] There are over 100,000 Pakistanis living in Italy, mainly living in Milan and Brescia.[102]
  • Pakistan has an embassy in Rome and a Consulate-General in Milan for representation
  • Italy maintains an embassy in Islamabad, a Consulate-General in Karachi and an honorary consulate in Lahore.
 People's Republic of China 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.[103]

 South Korea 1884-06-26 See Italy – South Korea relations
 Thailand 1870
 Vietnam 1973-03-23


  1. ^ a b "Italian soldiers leave for Lebanon Il Corriere della Sera, 30 August 2006
  2. ^ "Italy to Convene Italian-Pacific Islands Forum", Joanna Sireheti, Solomon Times, January 21, 2008
  3. ^ Belarussian embassy in Rome (in Italian and Russian only)
  4. ^ Italian embassy in Minsk (in Italian and Russian only)
  5. ^ Belgian embassy in Rome (in Dutch, French and Italian only)
  6. ^ Italian embassy in Brussels
  7. ^ Italian general consulate in Charleroi
  8. ^ Italian general consulate in Liège (in French and Italian only)
  9. ^ Italian consulate in Genk (in Dutch and Italian only)
  10. ^ Italian consulate in Mons (in French and Italian only)
  11. ^ Bulgarian general consulate in Milan
  12. ^ Bulgarian embassy in Rome
  13. ^ Italian embassy in Sofia.
  14. ^ Italian embassy in Nicosia
  15. ^ Czech embassy in Rome
  16. ^ Czech general consulate in Milan
  17. ^ Italian embassy in Prague
  18. ^ Estonian embassy in Rome
  19. ^ Italian embassy in Tallinn
  20. ^ Italian Embassy in Helsinki
  21. ^ Finnish Embassy in Rome
  22. ^ Hungarian embassy in Rome (in Hungarian and Italian only)
  23. ^ Hungarian general consulate in Milan (in Hungarian and Italian only)
  24. ^ Italian embassy in Budapest (in Hungarian and Italian only)
  25. ^ Icelandic embassy in Paris (also accredited to Italy)
  26. ^ Italian embassy in Oslo (also accredited to Iceland)
  27. ^ "Irish embassy in Rome". 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  28. ^ "Italian embassy in Dublin". 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  29. ^ "Consiglio dei Ministri n. 93 del 21 febbraio 2008" (in Italian). Italian Council of Ministers. 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  30. ^ "Kosovo, Italia riconosce indipendenza" (in Italian). La Stampa. 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  31. ^ "Italy appoints Ambassador to Kosovo" 16 May 2008 Link accessed 15/05/08
  32. ^ Italian embassy in Riga
  33. ^ Latvian embassy in Rome
  34. ^ Italian embassy in Vilnius
  35. ^ Lithuanian embassy in Rome
  36. ^ Italian embassy in Luxembourg City (in French and Italian only)
  37. ^ Luxembourg embassy in Rome (in Italian only)
  38. ^ Dutch representations in Italy
  39. ^ Dutch embassy in Rome (in Dutch and Italian only)
  40. ^ Dutch general consulate in Milan(in Dutch and Italian only)
  41. ^ Italian embassy in The Hague (in Dutch and Italian only)
  42. ^ Italian general consulate in Amsterdam (in Dutch and Italian only)
  43. ^ Italian embassy in Warsaw
  44. ^ Poland embassy in Rome
  45. ^ Italian embassy in Bucharest
  46. ^ Romanian embassy in Rome (in Italian and Romanian only)
  47. ^
  48. ^ Italy, Russia sign 'protocol of cooperation' - Pravda.Ru
  49. ^ Italian embassy in Belgrade (in Italian and Serbian only)
  50. ^ Italian embassy in Kiev (in Italian and Ukrainian only)
  51. ^ Ukrainian embassy in Rome (in Italian and Ukrainian only)
  52. ^ Embassy of Italy in London: Political Cooperation
  53. ^ Italy Country Profile, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  54. ^ Bilateral Relations British Embassy, Italy
  55. ^ Canadian embassy in Rome
  56. ^ Italian embassy in Ottawa
  57. ^ Italian general consulates in Toronto
  58. ^ Italian general consulates in Vancouver
  59. ^ "Viajan Topos Mexicanos a Italia" (in Spanish). El Universal (Mexico City). 2009-04-08. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  60. ^ Italian embassy in Asuncion
  61. ^ Paraguay embassy in Rome (in Spanish only)
  62. ^ Italian embassy in Lima (in Italian and Spanish only)
  63. ^ Peruvian embassy in Rome (in Italian and Spanish only)
  64. ^ Peruvian general consulate in Milan (in Italian and Spanish only)
  65. ^ Peruvian general consulate in Milan (in Italian and Spanish only)
  66. ^ Italian embassy in Montevideo (in Italian and Spanish only)
  67. ^ Italy remains top trading partner of Iran in EU
  68. ^
  69. ^ Italian general consulates in West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem
  70. ^ Italian embassy in Tel Aviv
  71. ^ Israeli embassy in Rome (in Italian only)
  72. ^ (Italian) Lebanese Embassy in Italy
  73. ^ Italian embassy in Tripoli
  74. ^ Italian embassy in Pretoria
  75. ^ Italian consulate in Cape Town
  76. ^ South African embassy in Rome
  77. ^ Italian embassy in Tunis (in French and Italian only)
  78. ^ Italian embassy in Ankara
  79. ^ Turkish embassy in Rome
  80. ^ Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Italy
  81. ^ Embassy history, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Italy
  82. ^ Embassy of Italy in Kabul
  83. ^ Amin Saikal, Ravan Farhadi, Kirill Nourzhanov. Modern Afghanistan: a history of struggle and survival. I.B.Tauris, 2006. ISBN 1845113160, 9781845113162. Pg 64
  84. ^ Tom Lansford. A bitter harvest: US foreign policy and Afghanistan. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2003 ISBN 0754636151, 9780754636151. Pg 2
  85. ^ Armenian embassy in Rome
  86. ^ Italian embassy in Yerevan
  87. ^ Australian embassy in Rome
  88. ^ Italian embassy in Canberra
  89. ^ Italian general consulate in Sydney
  90. ^ Italian general consulate in Perth
  91. ^ Azerbaijani embassy in Italy
  92. ^ Italian embassy in Azerbaijan
  93. ^ Georgian embassy in Rome
  94. ^ Italian embassy in Tbilissi
  95. ^ Italian embassy in Tokyo (in Italian and Japanese only)
  96. ^ Italian general consulate in Osaka
  97. ^ Japanese embassy in Rome (in Italian and Japanese only)
  98. ^ Japanese general consulate in Milan (in Italian and Japanese only)
  99. ^ Italian embassy in Wellington
  100. ^ New Zealand embassy in Rome
  101. ^
  102. ^
  103. ^ People's Daily Online - China-Italy relations experiencing "powerful acceleration": Fini
  104. ^ Italian embassy in Bangkok
  105. ^ Thai embassy in Rome
  106. ^ Italian embassy in Hanoi

See also

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