Relations with Italy
Italy and the regions
Flanders and Italy have centuries-old historical ties. These longstanding relations have been between the Flemish (Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp...) and the Northern Italian cities and the interaction between the Flemish primitives and the artists of the Italian Renaissance. The current economic importance of Italy and the intense cultural exchange today were instrumental in the opening of a new Diplomatic Representation of Flanders in Italy.
Besides being a founding member of the EU and NATO, Italy also belongs to the G7 and G20 and is the third largest economy in the Eurozone (after Germany and France), and the seventh in the world. Italy has a diversified economy and is the second largest manufacturer and exporter in the EU (after Germany) of a wide range of products such as machinery, vehicles, chemical and pharmaceutical products, food, textiles and clothing, furniture, robotics and luxury goods. The country has a large industrial capacity with large industrial companies.
Italy is divided into 20 regions. Each of these regions has a parliament (il consiglio) and a government (la giunta) presided over by a president who is directly elected. Of the 20 regions, 5 have a special status based on language and territorial criteria: Valle d'Aosta, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. The regions are further subdivided into 107 provinces and around 8,000 municipalities.