Valentina Romei

Investment in Europe, both public and private, dropped dramatically following the international financial crisis, and in its aftermath growth has been weak in some countries and non-existent in others. The lack of investment growth is particularly worrying in peripheral countries where it hampers the chances of future economic and productivity growth, as well as limiting employment expansion.

Just how steep was the drop?  Read more

A recent earthquake reduced large parts of central Italy to a pile of rubble and killed almost 270 people. Though shallow, the tremor was felt in buildings as far as Rome and Florence. At 6.2 magnitude, it was the second strongest in 35 years on the peninsula.

Italy’s position close to the boundary of two tectonic plates makes it more prone to devastating quakes than any other European country. Not only do barely perceptible minor tremors occur frequently, but Italy has regularly suffered from major quakes that take lives. Here, we look at how the death toll from earthquakes in Italy compare to other Southern European regions over the last century.

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Valentina Romei

Italy’s unemployment rate rose to 11.6 per cent in June. Although this is a marginal rise, it is worrying for a country that is struggling to recover after multiple recessions and weak growth.

Yet there are reasons to remain optimistic. Read more

Bad debt has piled up for years, notably in the construction sector Read more

Valentina Romei

House prices in the EU rose at an annual rate of four per cent in the first quarter of this year, but with big variations. The UK persistently shows strong price rises, while the trend was flat in France and house prices continue to shrink in Italy.

Valentina Romei

This week the European Commission let Italy off the hook, granting the country extra flexibility – to the tune of 14 billion euros – in its debt reduction targets for 2016.

The extra “flexibility” includes allowances for investments (0.25 per cent of GDP), for the refugees crisis (0.04 per cent of GDP) and for extra security measures (0.06 per cent of GDP). In return the Commission wants a ‘clear and credible commitment’ from Italy that the country will respect its budget targets in 2017. Read more

Valentina Romei

Last year things were looking up in Italy. Employment, a sore subject after the international crisis, was growing and the unemployment rate began to fall in 2015 .

But in the last few months this progress flattened. What’s happened? Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

England’s Premier League is enjoying one of its most competitive seasons for years, but at the same time the league is without a club in Europe’s top 10 for the first time in 20 years.

The interplay between competitive balance and outright quality of football is a complex one, and depending on who you talk to, different levels of importance are placed on each when it comes to talk of which league is the bestRead more

Valentina Romei

The value of cross border merger and acquisition deals in Italy reached a new high in 2015 at over $50bn. Italian companies were the most targeted by foreign acquisitions in the European Union after the UK, along with France. Read more

Valentina Romei

Wealth disparities within EU countries were narrowing prior to the 2008 crisis, but since then the poorer regions have stopped catching up with the wealthiest ones.

“European countries converge at national level, but at the cost of a rising divergence within the countries” explain Joaquim Oliveira Head of the OECD Regional Development Policy Division in an interview with the FT. Read more

Valentina Romei

About two in three women aged 25 to 64 years old are in employment in the European Union, the highest proportion since the data series began 23 years ago. However, the EU average conceals considerable variation between regions.

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Valentina Romei

February 12: Italy’s weak recovery

FT Baseline

How do standard of play and level of competition vary across Europe’s top leagues, and can this tell us which provides the best football?
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Valentina Romei

“The good school” is the title of the reform to the Italian educational system proposed by the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi that was approved by the lower chamber of parliament on the 20th of May and that now needs to be approved by the upper chamber in the next few weeks.

In the words of the Ministry of Education Stefania Giannini the reform is aimed at improving “autonomy, transparency, responsibility, fair valuation and merits” in the educational system. The reforms involve funding for hiring thousands of temporary teachers on permanent contracts, more training, the introduction of a one year trial for new teachers and larger school autonomy among other – sometimes controversial – measures. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Our new unemployment tracker shows the latest jobs data across the European Union, including top-line figures for each country’s constituent regions. The most recent figures are for September 2014.

You can also download the latest data using the link beneath the graphic. Read more

by Gavin Jackson and Keith Fray

On Tuesday the International Monetary Fund released its latest World Economic Outlook. A striking new finding emerges: the seven largest emerging markets are now bigger, in gross domestic product terms, than the long established G7 group of industrialised nations, when measured at purchasing power parity (PPP). Read more

No one knows how many Chinese people live in Europe.

The United Nations estimated Europe’s China-born population at 886,882 in 2010, its most recent count, while Chinese-based social scientists put it somewhere between 2m and 3m.

Why, in the age of big data, is there so much uncertainty where our neighbours are from? Read more

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by Nassos Stylianou and John Burn-Murdoch

Between May 22 and 25, some 400 million people will be eligible to vote in the European Parliament elections. But how many of them will actually turn up at the ballot box?

Following 2009 treaty changes, the European Parliament will for the first time have a more direct role in electing the president of the European Commission , the EU’s executive arm, giving May’s election added significance.

Despite the increasing influence of the European Parliament, the percentage of those voting to elect its members has fallen in every election, from 62 per cent in 1979’s inaugural direct elections through to 43 per cent in 2009.

At the last European elections five years ago, less than half of those eligible voted in 18 of the 27 member states. In six countries, the turnout was below 30 per cent. In one country, Slovakia, less than one in five of those eligible voted.

Turnout in Germany, France and Italy – founding members of the common market – has eroded by more than 20 percentage points since then. In the UK, turnout was already low at 32.3 per cent in 1979 and levels have remained consistently below 40 per cent ever since.

However, several of the newer member states such as Estonia, Latvia and Bulgaria recorded a surge in turnout in 2009.

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Valentina Romei

Elena is a 26 year old Italian woman with a degree in child psychology who has been working in London as a nursery teacher for nearly a year. She moved to the UK after months spent looking in vain for a job in Tuscany, a region where the unemployment rate, at 7.9%, is well below the Italian average of 11.3%.

But Elena is not counted among more than 16,000 Italians that moved to the UK, according to official statistics updated for the FT by the Italian Ministry of Interior. These numbers are based on the registry of Italians living abroad (AIRE). Elena has a vague knowledge of this register but decided not to sign up for fear of losing important rights and services (including healthcare) in her home country. Read more