Joined: EU 1958 Eurozone 1999 Schengen 1997 Italy was one of the founding members of the European Communities that became the European Union and the origins of the bloc goes back to the Treaties of Rome. Placing the treaty in the Italian capital was most likely an attempt to have it in neither of the two major powers of France or Germany, but it also gives a link to the Roman Empire, papacy, and Holy Roman Empire that had at different times united Europe. Since the global banking crisis of 2008 the Italian economy has been in a poor state and there is an increasing Euroscepticism, although it is more scepticism about remaining in the Eurozone than the European Union. Italy’s banks are in a very weak state and like much of southern Europe they have not had a prosperous experience in the single currency. Immigration is a different matter as Italy is facing a lot of pressure from large numbers of asylum seekers travelling from North Africa, especially their former colony of Libya. So while Italy has not been on the route of those fleeing the Syrian conflict they have seen an influx from the filed state of Libya and from West Africa.

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