Italy’s democracy ranking falls, far-right policies blamed

The EU has clashed with the Italian numerous times in the last year, mostly due to Italy’s far-right government, anti-immigration policies, and Italy’s budget policies. As a result of Italy’s government, which is famously anti-establishment, a think-tank has now ranked Italy 33rd in terms of global democracy ranking. Before the League took power last June, the country was ranked 21st in the world, as confirmed in the Economist Intelligence Unit.

It was noted in the report that: “Deep disillusionment with political institutions, including parliament and political parties, fed through into increasing support for ‘strongmen’ who bypass political institutions. All this contributes to the risk of a deterioration in civil liberties. The report considers the extent to which the government invokes new threats as an excuse to curb civil liberties.”

Italy’s coalition government has been criticised for its “anti-foreigner rhetoric”, which, in particular, included the removal of minority communities from “illegal houses”, even though the European Court of Human Rights ordered against it. Among critics includes the human rights commissioner of the UN Michelle Bachelet, who has raised concerns over the way the Italian government treats migrants and ethnic minorities.

The following countries currently rank higher than Italy on the global scale; although only ten (ranked below 20 on the list) member states are considered to be “full democracies”:

  • 3rd – Sweden

  • 5th – Denmark

  • 6th – Ireland

  • 8th – Finland

  • 11th – Netherlands

  • 12th – Luxembourg

  • 13th – Germany

  • 14th – UK

  • 16th – Austria

  • 18th – Malta

  • 19th – Spain

  • 23rd – Estonia

  • 27th – Portugal

  • 29th – France

  • 31st – Belgium

However, Italy wasn’t the worst performing EU country in terms of democracy ranking. The Czech Republic, Slovenia, Latvia, Greece, Hungary, Croatia, and Romania were among member states that scored lower. At the lower end of the scale, Romania was ranked last in the EU at 66th, and Croatia followed at 60th. Some of these countries were also considered to be “flawed democracies, including Romania.”

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