In addition to being a founding member of NATO and the EU, Italy is also a member of the G8 and remains the third most important European economy. Italy has a diversified economy, divided into a developed industrial North that is dominated by private companies, and a less developed agricultural South, where unemployment is higher and there is a greater need for European subsidies. Flanders and Italy have long historical ties. You only have to think of the trade links between Bruges and the northern Italian cities or the interactions between the Flemish Primitives and the artists of the Italian Renaissance. In late 2016, the Flemish Government decided to open a new General Delegation in Rome in 2019.