Italy and the European Union

Italy and the European Union

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 246
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    Italy and the European Union
    Book Description:

    Federiga Bindi provides, for the first time, an in-depth analysis of Italy's role within the European Union (EU) in this inaugural volume of a book series published jointly by the Brookings Institution Press and the Scuola Superiore della Pubblica Amministrazione (Italian National School of Public Administration, or SSPA).Italy and the European Unionrelates in detail the historical, cultural, and sociological factors that have led to Italy's incomplete "Europeanization," or full integration, within the EU. It also brings the reader up-to-date on the steps taken by the country's leaders to improve Italy's standing and become a more effective member in the organization it helped to found.

    Discussing the author's extensive research,The Economistnotes....

    "Federiga Bindi identified a number of barriers to an effective European policy in Italy: a high turnover of governments; coalition partners with conflicting aims; the failure of bureaucrats to learn from other member states; and politicians' lack of interest in Europe... recently however, she found that matters had improved. An interdepartmental body for the coordination of EU policies has been created, Parliament operates an effective scrutiny system..., the administration has learnt to learn from others. But the other problems remain, and they are formidable. Her study ends on an exasperated note: 'Italy appears to be stuck in the age of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, in which the victory of one faction over another is what counts, and the fact that this may be damaging to the country matters little.'" -fromThe Economist, July 31, 2010

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0509-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. 1 Introduction: Italy’s Future Role in the European Union
    (pp. 1-6)

    The purpose of the book is to analyze three aspects of the relations between Italy and the European Union from different points of view: the political actors’ historical attitude toward the foundation and development of the European Community/European Union (EC/EU); the institutional and legislative mechanisms regulating the Italy-EU relationship; and Italian negotiating strategies in “high” and “low” EU politics. The aim is to provide an in-depth, comprehensive analysis of how Italy relates to the European Union.

    The book endeavors to fill a gap in the existing literature: as yet, there is no exhaustive study on Italy’s interaction with the EU....

  5. 2 The Theoretical Framework
    (pp. 7-35)

    When the field of European Studies was young (roughly from the late 1950s to the early 1980s), the main scholarly challenge was to describe the new institutional setting, to explain how it came into being, and to foresee possible future developments. From the mid- to late 1980s, the focus moved to explaining the changes introduced by the Single European Act (which took effect in 1987) and what these meant in institutional terms and for the future. Since the early 1990s, European Studies has proliferated and branched in so many directions that one book alone could never cover it thoroughly.


  6. 3 Italy and the EU in Historical Perspective
    (pp. 36-64)

    This examination of Italy’s historical role in the European Communities considers both exogenous and endogenous variables. As regards the exogenous, European integration—while a fundamental value in Italian foreign policy—must be considered in terms of transatlantic relations, relations with Russia and the other former Soviet states (and previously the USSR), and other nearby regions, such as the Mediterranean and the Balkans. Because of the relevant impact on Italy of these exogenous variables—especially in the first twenty years of European integration—this chapter indulges in discussing them whenever necessary.

    As for the endogenous variables, fascism plays a significant role:...

  7. 4 Parties and Public Opinion Regarding Europe
    (pp. 65-81)

    The Italian party system has been, and to a certain extent still is, a peculiar case among Western democracies. In many ways, Joseph Di Palma’s and Joseph La Palombara’s classic works on Italy remain valid even today.¹ And when Leonardo Morlino compares the Italian and the Spanish cases, for instance, he finds that the democratic regime in Spain has succeeded in becoming comparatively more consolidated than the one in Italy.² One needs, however, to distinguish between two periods: from the beginning of the Republic to the early 1990s (the so-called First Republic) and the period since then, often called the...

  8. 5 The Italian Parliament and the EU: A Slow and Gradual Europeanization
    (pp. 82-105)

    The growing involvement of the national parliaments in EU policymaking has passed through three phases: limited or no involvement was the trend until the 1980s; after the Single European Act (SEA) in 1987, national parliaments started to be interested in European affairs and to set up specialized committees; following the Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on the European Union, or TEU) in 1992, the involvement of national parliaments in EU affairs became a response to the question of “democratic deficit” in the EU.¹

    The growing number of policies dealt with at the EU level, the consequently increasing influence of EU law on...

  9. 6 Adapting the State Machine: The Executive
    (pp. 106-130)

    In most of the European Union’s member states, national executives tend to dominate their legislatures in EU affairs. Vincent Wright, Hussein Kassim, and Guy Peters write about “institutional convergence” in the member states:¹

    —Prime ministers’ roles and resources in EU affairs have grown significantly since the mid-1980s.

    —Foreign ministers still play a central role, yet their dominance has eroded. Most often they act as coordinators of EU affairs, not least because the Permanent Representatives in Brussels respond to them.

    —Virtually every national minister is affected by EU policymaking, and all of them have some sort of support unit for dealing...

  10. 7 Territorial Politics and Organized Interests
    (pp. 131-153)

    Regional policy was not addressed in the original EC Treaty in 1957, although the Preamble did refer to the need to narrow the differences with the less-developed regions. Some common policies (the Common Agricultural Policy, the reconversion of the steel and coal industry, the harmonization of economic policies) did have a regional connotation in the implementation phase. The need to introduce a regional policy therefore emerged in the years that followed. In 1975 the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) was established, followed in 1987 by the incorporation of regional policy among Community policies. The reform of the Structural Funds¹ and...

  11. 8 EU Constitutional Policies and High Politics
    (pp. 154-175)

    The EU is neither a classic international organization nor a federated state. It has been defined in umpteen ways. Alberta Sbragia, in 1992, called the European Community “unique in its institutional structure, it is neither a state nor an international organization.”¹ According to Robert Keohane and Stanley Hoffmann: “If any traditional model were to be applied, it would be that of a confederation rather than a federation. . . . However, confederalism alone fails to capture the complexity of the interest-based bargaining that now prevails in the Community.”² Elsewhere, the EC/EU has been defined as “a loose federation,”³ “a multi-tiered...

  12. 9 Negotiating Low Politics
    (pp. 176-190)

    The first case examined in this chapter is Italy’s membership in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). This analysis focuses on two historical periods: 1989–91, in which the Maastricht Treaty (1992) negotiations were concentrated; and the period immediately before Italy’s accession to the EMU, from the beginning of 1996 to the end of 1997. I lay out the strategy adopted by Italy in the Economic and Monetary Union negotiations and analyze whether Italy’s efforts matched Italian interests.

    The Economic and Monetary Union was intended to be a means of enabling the European Community to achieve the free movement of...

  13. 10 Conclusion: The Long Road to Brussels
    (pp. 191-210)

    A survey conducted in the second half of the 1990s to compare the management of European affairs by Italy and Portugal showed that “small” Portugal was more capable of promoting and defending its national interests in the decisionmaking processes of the European Union than “big” Italy.¹ Italy’s difficulties had to do with four main variables: the instability of its governments; the lack of government cohesion; the government’s inability to implement a learning process; and above all the country’s political culture. More specifically, government instability, reflected in the high turnover among political players and in working groups, penalized Italy by undermining...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 211-232)
  15. Index
    (pp. 233-246)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 247-247)