International Spectator

The International Spectator

Volume XXXIV No. 2 (April-June 1999)


IAI Library Notes
By Maritza Cricorian


Gli anni della Farnesina : pagine del diario 1961-1967 / di Egidio Ortona. - Milano : SPAI, c1998. - 185 p.

A posthumous book by one of the actors of Italian postwar diplomacy. Drawn from the diary kept while he was Director General of Economic Affairs at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and later Secretary General of the Ministry itself, these pages shed light on particular international events of the sixties, as seen from the MFA: three moments in the difficult road to the European Community (Great Britain’s request for accession, the crisis on the question of the vote, the first decade after the Treaty of Rome), trade negotiations with the Soviet Union and with Somalia, and relations with the Kennedies.


 L’Argentina, gli italiani, l’Italia : un altro destino / di Ludovico Incisa di Camerana. - Milano : SPAI, c1998. - 778 p.

The result of an accurate study, this hefty volume is devoted to the history of relations between Argentina and Italy from Italy’s birth as a nation to date. The author, a former Italian ambassador to Caracas and Buenos Aires (1985-91), highlights the Italians’ contribution to the formation of the Argentine social structure – from the working class to the entrepreneurial upper class – and the Argentine national identity. At the same time, he criticises Italy’s desultory official attitude towards the Latin American country, and hopes for closer joint development between Italy and Argentina.


The Baltic states: problems and prospects of membership in the European Union / Dzintra Bungs. - Baden-Baden : Nomos Verl.-Ges., 1988. - 130 p. - (Aktuelle Materialen sur Internationalen Politik ; Bd.55). - ISBN 3-7890-5591-3

A research study on the future membership of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the European Union seen from the point of view of the Baltic countries themselves.

The book concentrates mainly on the period from August 1991 to January 1998 and tries to identify, in its nine chapters, the results achieved to date by the various countries, as well as the problems and difficulties, and future objectives.

Without predicting when the Baltic countries will enter the EU, the author underlines the concomitance of external factors that could delay accession, such as the "disturbing" actions of Russia, revising its areas of interest.


Italy, Europe and the Left : the transformation of Italian communism and the European imperative / Vassilis Fouskas. - Aldershot : Ashgate, c1998. - xvi, 253 p. - ISBN 1-84014-450-5

In an attempt to retrace the crisis and transformation of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) into the Democratic Party of the Left, this essay sets it into the social, economic and especially political context - the crisis of the Italian political system – at the time, rejecting simplistic explanations.

The book’s two parts correspond to two periods in Italian history: the first retraces the history of the PCI from the Fascist period through the "historical compromise" to Enrico Berlinguer’s "democratic alternative"; the second goes over the evolution of the PCI from Eurocommunism to the current debate/conflict between new revisionism and Communist refoundation via Achille Occhetto’s "new course", the crisis of the eighties and the "constituent phase", all set against the background of the crisis of actually existing socialism and Eastern Europe.

The thesis put forward is that the events of the East were only a catalyst for the party’s transformation, which should on the other hand be seen as closely intertwined with the crisis of the Keynesian state and the system of power of the so-called First Republic, as well as the European integration process.


 Is Japan really changing its ways? : regulatory reform and the Japanese economy / Lonny E. Carlile, Mark C. Tilton editors. - Washington : Brookings Institution Press, c1998. - xii, 232 p. - ISBN 0-8157-1292-8 (cloth)

Experts on various aspects of Japanese regulation have written the eight chapters of this book emanating from a research study and a workshop on regulatory reform in Japan.

While reconstructing and analysing the rise of current regulations, identifying the deep-seated motivations behind them, the study clarifies why it is difficult to deregulate today and why regulatory reform is needed: i) the state’s fiscal crisis and the need to reabsorb public debt; ii) diplomatic pressure from abroad (e.g. the US) and fear of trade sanctions; iii) the desire to revitalise the national economy; iv) the formation of new political parties, some of which are in favour of regulatory reform.

Finally, in an attempt to determine the reasons for the negligible impact that liberalising reforms have had on the Japanese market, the authors essentially point to a bureaucratic "mesolevel" in economic decision-making and a continuing strong presence of a "developmental" state model.

After a description of the current scenario with its confrontation between moderately reformist forces/drives and conservative forces, the authors predict that it is unlikely that there will be a major change in the current developmental model.


None of your business : world data flows, electronic commerce and the European privacy directive / Peter P. Swire and Robert E. Litan. - Washington : Brookings Institution Press, c1998. - x, 269 p. - ISBN 0-8157-8240-3

A very timely publication on the possible effects that Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament on the treatment of personal data, which entered into force on 24 October 1998, could have on the US and its trade and business with Europe. However, the situation illustrated by means of intensive interviews with representatives of the various sectors affected by the directive refers to May 1998.

The title may be interpreted in three ways: a) the protection of the fundamental civic rights of European citizens from violation by other countries ("my personal information is none of your business"); b) the concern of non-European states on which the European Union is trying to impose extra-territorially its rules in the field of privacy; and c) the possible protectionist effects of the directive for American companies. But the book essentially offers a systematic study, sector by sector (one for each of the five chapters constituting the core of the book), the practical effects of the directive in the field of modern information technology (Chap. 3); electronic commerce (Chap. 4), the organisation of labour (Chap. 5), financial services (Chap. 6) and other trans-national activities (the press, non-profit, direct marketing; Chap. 7).

It also provides an analysis of the transfer of data from the EU to third countries and the interaction of the directive and information technology. The next chapter is dedicated to policy recommendations suggesting a possible mix of market rules, self-regulation and governmental action, achieved by testing the limits of the existing regulatory instruments (technology, market, media, etc.). Basically, the authors do not recommend states like the US to introduce global and binding regulations, but rather to set up a package of self-regulatory measures and, in the case of the United States, an Office for Electronic Commerce and Privacy Policy (OECPP), which would provide an institutional instrument to deal with problems of privacy and electronic trade and to participate in the appropriate fora in discussion of such problems. Furthermore, they point to a number of points in the text of the directive which are ambiguous and must be clarified.

In the ninth and last chapter, the authors sketch out possible future implications of the matter, in particular with reference to the new models for trade and communication in the Internet.


Regulatory and supervisory challenges in a new era of global finance / edited by Jan Joost Teunissen. - The Hague : FONDAD, c1998. - 276 p. - ISBN 90-74208-14-2

The proceedings of a conference organised by the Forum on Debt and Development (FONDAD) on the financial crisis in developing and transition countries in March 1998. The book is divided into several parts: the first two are dedicated to the macroeconomic aspects of the crisis, that is, the global implications and the international institutional approach, and therefore also to a diagnosis; the next two parts look for remedies and therefore address specific questions concerning national and international supervision – the real focus of the book; the fifth and last part contains the conclusions and prospects for the future. The chapter’s author is basically in favour of a global reform of the international financial architecture, while the editor of the volume is more in favour of a balance between reform and better management of the existing system.


Scandinavian politics today / David Arter. - Manchester : Manchester University Press, c1999. - xvi, 366 p. - (Politics today). - ISBN 0-7190-5133-9 (pbk)

Almost meant as a textbook for students of contemporary politics, this book is centred on Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the three "Home Rule territories", Greenland, Faeroes and Aland. The approach is comparative and thematic, following the major issues of political science, but with special regard for international relations.

The volume is divided into six parts: the first provides an historical introduction going from the Vikings to the 20th century; the second retraces the birth of the so-called Scandinavian model; the third covers the rise of new parties and the changes in the party system that took place in the seventies; the fourth analyses the Nordic model of government and democracy, the role of economic lobbies, social policy and the well known welfare state; the fifth part deals with the kind of parliamentary system in Denmark, Norway and Sweden and the semi-presidentialism of Iceland and Finland; the sixth and last chapter tackles security aspects in the postwar period, during the Cold War and in the framework of the new united Europe. The last chapter also presents the challenges that the Nordic countries will face in the next millennium.


 Subregional cooperation in the new Europe : building security, prosperity and solidarity from the Barents to the Black Sea / edited by Andrew Cottey. - Basingstoke : Macmillan ; New York : St. Martin’s Press, 1999. - xvi, 280 p. - ISBN 0-333-73360-6. - ISBN 0-312-22072-3

The initial results of a research study begun by the Institute for East West Studies in 1996 and still under way focused on the role of geographically and historically homogeneous (with respect to Europe) sub-regional groupings in post-Cold War Europe: the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, the Council of Baltic Sea States, the Visegrad group, the Central European Free Trade Agreement, the Central European Initiative and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.

Each of the six chapters in the second part of the book is dedicated to one of these groups, its establishment, its development and its future prospects. The first part, on the other hand, contains two introductory chapters, while the third analyses the role of sub-regional cooperation in the context of the European security architecture and the fourth, finally, recapitulates and presents the conclusions.

The balance sheet and the prospects for these experiences in the context of the new Europe are substantially positive; still unsolved are the questions relative to the security role of these groups and their relationship to the major international institutions (WEU, NATO), that is, an equilibrium between sub-regionalisation and "wider collective approaches" to European security.


Surviving the stalemate: approaches to strengthening the Palestinian Entity / Muriel Asseburg, Volker Perthes (eds.). - Baden-Baden : Nomos Verl.-Ges., 1998. - 143 p. - (Conflict Prevention Network ; Bd.2). - ISBN 3-7890-5570-0

This volume is made up of the revised and updated studies presented to the European Commission and European Parliament by the Conflict Prevention Network, an initiative undertaken by the European Commission to contribute to the prevention of violent conflict by means of analytical and operational input into the European system.

The two parts are made up of a policy paper and eight background papers, respectively on the Palestinian political system, the extremists, the political forces, the role of NGOs, human rights, the socio-economic situation in the West Bank and Ghaza, economic development and European assistance.

As a whole, the book aims to draw attention to the conditions of the establishment of a Palestinian state, pointing out that what is needed above all is a strengthening of Palestinian society and more complementarity rather than rivalry in the roles of the United States and Europe.


 Towards rival regionalism? US and EU regional regulatory regime building / Jens van Scherpenberg, Elke Thiel (eds.). - Baden-Baden : Nomos Verl.-Ges., 1998. - 311 p. - (Aktuelle Materialen zur Internationalen Politik ; Bd.54). - ISBN 3-7890-5590-5

This volume brings together the updated contributions to a conference-project held in Ebenhausen and organised by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in 1996.
The focus is the inter-relation between three important aspects of current international economic relations: the international trade agenda, the liberalisation/regional integration of trade, the competition between the United States and the European Union. In particular, the book investigates the influence that transatlantic relations have on international regulatory regime building.

Experts from various fields analyse the policies of regional economic integration in the four sections into which the book is divided: the first offers an overall framework and an analysis of the problem of division of labour and the ambiguity of economic regionalism, setting some guidelines for domestic regulatory reform; the second is made up of four case studies, respectively on the process of integration in NAFTA/FTAA, Asia-Pacific regionalism (APEC), the EU with particular reference to the entry of Central and Eastern European countries, and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership; the third section is dedicated to cross-regional economic relations and juxtaposes a piece on the EU’s "new Asian policy" with three contributions on EU-US rivalry as seen from Asian and Latin American viewpoints; finally, the last section discusses the prospects for divergence and for cooperation in transatlantic economic relations.

Maritza Cricorian is Chief Librarian at the IAI.