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Living in Europe: An update from the team at The Local

There's no doubt living, working and moving around Europe has become far more challenging in recent months. For all of us.

Living in Europe: An update from the team at The Local
Life in Europe is not like it was. Cyclists drive past chairs and tables of a still closed restaurant at the Alter Markt place, where works are under way for the reopening in Dortmund. AFP

Normal daily life has changed, travel has become more complicated and jobs and small businesses are under threat.

During these turbulent times, we at The Local pledge to provide you with all the essential news and information you need to stay informed with what's happening in the country where you live or love to visit.
Over the coming months we promise to:
  • Bring you everything you need to know about how the coronavirus crisis continues to impact European countries over the coming weeks and months.
  • Explain all the rules, regulations or health guidelines you have to follow 
  • Cover essential issues from travel and taxes, to jobs and work permits, borders and Brexit.
  • Answer your crucial questions and ask them, on your behalf, to authorities and we'll help you learn the local language in each country.
The weeks ahead will be extremely challenging for us at The Local given advertising revenue has plunged by around 70 percent compared to last year.
We have survived the crisis up until now because of the thousands of readers who became members in recent months and the thousands more who renewed their memberships. We are very grateful, as are our regular readers.
Without our members' support we wouldn't have been able to produce the articles, many of which we made free to all, that millions are reading each month.
We currently have around 25,000 members of The Local community. We've come a long way from when the The Local began in 2004 in the form of a newsletter sent to 12 people in a language class.
But our urgent goal is to grow our community to over 40,000 so we can cover our costs, become sustainable and not have to rely on advertising for survival.
Every member counts, so we could do with your help to spread the word. Tell your friends and colleagues about us or share our stories with them.
In return we'll continue to work hard and publish dozens of articles each week to explain life around Europe.
You should also know we are reinvesting members' contributions by bringing on board new writers, increasing weekend coverage and upgrading our apps.
This has been possible thanks to a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network.
We hope you stay with us over the coming months as we report and explain all the relevant news and changes that affect you.
And remember the best way to keep up to date is by downloading our iOS or Android phone apps, and by joining the conversations on Facebook or Twitter.
A big thanks to all our readers from everyone at The Local.

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CALENDAR: The Italian transport strikes that will hit travel in March 2024

People travelling to, from or across Italy may face disruption in the coming weeks as unions have called multiple strikes affecting flights, trains and public transport services.

CALENDAR: The Italian transport strikes that will hit travel in March 2024

Transport strikes are no rare occurrence in Italy, and March will be no exception as unions representing airline, railway and public transport staff have announced multiple walkouts which threaten to affect the travel plans of both locals and international visitors.

Here’s a look at the protests that are expected to cause the greatest amount of disruption this month.

March 8th – Nationwide general strike

Airline, rail and public transport passengers may all face delays and/or cancellations on Friday, March 8th due to a 24-hour general strike backed by four of Italy’s major transport unions. 

The walkout is presently expected to be one of the more disruptive walkouts of the year as it will involve staff from both public and private transport operators all around the country.

Rome, empty bus station

A deserted bus station during a national transport strike in Rome. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

Besides the airline, rail and public transport sectors, ferry services to and from Italy’s major islands, Sicily and Sardinia, and as-yet-unspecified motorway services are also set to be affected, according to the latest reports.

March 13th – Nationwide railway staff strike

Train passengers around the country may experience disruption on Wednesday, March 13th as track maintenance staff at Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI), which owns and manages all of Italy’s railway network, plan to strike for eight hours, with the start and end times of the walkout varying from region to region.

There currently is no further information about the protest and its potential impacts on train travel during the day.

March 18th – Multiple bus operator strikes in Sicily

Staff from four different bus operators in Sicily (Sicilbus, Etna Trasporti, Interbus Regione Sicilia and Segesta Autolinee) will strike for four hours, from 9.30am to 1.30pm, on Monday, March 18th.

Scheduled services run by all of the above-mentioned operators may be significantly delayed or cancelled during the entire length of walkout.

March 22nd – Air traffic controllers’ strike at Verona airport and Air Dolomiti walkout

Passengers flying to or from Verona’s Villafranca airport may face delays and/or cancellations on Friday, March 22nd as staff from national air traffic control agency Enav plan to strike from 10am to 6pm.

Detailed information on guaranteed flights is expected to be released on Enav’s website closer to the walkout date.

Cabin staff from airline Air Dolomiti, a subsidiary of Lufthansa which operates a number of routes from northern Italy to Germany and vice versa – will also strike from 10am to 6pm on March 22nd. 

It’s currently unclear how the strike will impact the airline’s scheduled flights during the day, though changes to departure times or cancellations cannot be ruled out at this point. 

March 22nd – Public transport strike in Milan

Public transport passengers in Milan can expect delays and cancellations on Friday, March 22nd as staff at ATM, the city’s major public transport operator, plan on striking for 24 hours.  

The walkout is expected to affect all metro lines as well as bus and tram services. A list of guaranteed services will be made available online by ATM closer to the date.

March 23rd-24th – Nationwide train strike 

Staff at Italy’s state-owned railway company Ferrovie dello Stato (FS), which includes Trenitalia and Trenord, plan to strike from 9pm on Saturday, March 23rd to 9pm on Sunday, March 24th.

The protest is expected to affect long-distance services as well as regional and local routes.

Train strike, Italy

Passengers get off a Frecciarossa high-speed train at Rome’s Termini station. Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

A number of minimum services will be guaranteed to operate during the strike, details of which will be made available on the Trenitalia and Trenord websites closer to the date.

Private operator Italo will not be affected by the walkout as it’s not part of the FS group.

Local strikes

A number of smaller regional and local walkouts have also been announced for the coming weeks. A full list can be found on the Transport Ministry’s strike calendar

How bad are strikes in Italy?

Strikes in Italy are frequent but not all of them cause significant disruption for travellers.

The severity of disruption caused by any strike in the country largely depends on how many staff in any part of the transport sector decide to participate.

And, even in the case of highly disruptive strikes, some essential services (or servizi minimi) are guaranteed to run at peak times. This goes for all transport sectors, from local public transport to rail and air travel.

Keep up with the latest updates in The Local’s Italian strike news section.