The Geneva-based World Economic Forum has released annual figures about 117 countries worldwide in which Italy remains in 47th place for the second year running, the worst position of any member state of the European Union, with the exception of Poland, and only just ahead of Botswana, China and India.

The report is based on a survey of 11,000 managers and business people in the countries concerned; it shows that the weakness in the Italian economy is mainly caused by the inefficient banking system, the excessive bureaucracy, high taxes and inflexible salaries. The head economist of the WEF expressed concern about Italy because, according to the report, favouritism in the public sector is rife, the judiciary is not independent and organised crime puts pressure on private enterprise.