Original publication: June 2015
Authors: Filipa Azevedo (Research Administrator)
Shortlink to this post: http://bit.ly/2PnzIp4
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Economic, Social and Territorial Situation of Sicily

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This in-depth analysis was written for a delegation from the Committee on Regional Development visiting Sicily. The analysis provides an overview of the region of Sicily, its political, economic and administrative system, and of the Operational Programme for the period of 2014-2020.


Italy is a parliamentary republic composed of Municipalities, Provinces, Metropolitan cities, Regions and the State[1]. The country is subdivided into 15 regions with an ordinary status, adopted and modified by regional law (Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Piedmont, Apulia, Tuscany, Umbria, Veneto) and 5 regions with a special autonomous status, adopted by constitutional law (Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino-South Tyrol (autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano/Bozen), Aosta Valley). Furthermore there are 110 provinces and 8,057 municipalities. The resident population accounts for 60,782,668 inhabitants and the territorial area is of 302,072 km2 (Italian National Statistics Institute – Istat, 2014).

Figure 1: Regions of Italy


Since the economic crisis in 2008, Italy has suffered a severe economic downturn. From 1995 to 2013[2] it registered on average 0.5% annual growth, compared to 1.6 % of the EU-27. Social and regional disparities have been accentuated and youth unemployment has risen sharply. The crisis and the job loss have aggravated the economic situation of families, especially in the south of the country. The unemployment rate was 12.8 % in 2014 (12.2 % in 2013).

In macroeconomic terms, the GDP per capita at current values was EUR 25,700 and the inflation rate 3.0 % in 2012 (Istat, 2014) and in 2014 the debt to GDP ratio was 132.1 %, compared to 91.9 % in the euro area and 86.8 % for the EU28 (Eurostat, April 2015). The country deficit is expected to be 2.6 % of the GDP in 2015.

Italy invests 1.25 % of its GDP in R&D (2013), the EU average is 2.1 % (Europe 2020 national target 1.53 %, see Annex I) and the main sectors of investments are the industries of textiles and mechanical engineering. The production system is mainly characterised by microenterprises, with an average of 3.9 employees per enterprise (average 6.6 employees in the EU).

According to OECD projections the Italian economy is likely to recover during 2015 and 2016 and recent structural reforms could increase the GDP by 3.4 % within the next five years (summary of recent structural reforms on page 9).

Political summary

Summary of recent structural reforms

[1]  The Constitution of the Italian Republic, Title I, Art. 114.
[2] This In-Depth Analysis uses data compiled by Istat and Eurostat and in some case only available for the years 2012 and 2013.

Link to the full study: http://bit.ly/540-372
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