Volume XLI, No. 1 (January - March 2006)
Essays - Italian foreign policy survey
Fifteen Proposals for a Bipartisan European Policy in Italy (PDF, 25 pages, 500 KB) by Ettore Greco, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa and Stefano Silvestri
Despite the important achievements of the past few years (the euro, enlargement, the drafting of the Constitutional Treaty, interventions in the Balkans and the growing diplomatic role in the Middle East), Europe is at a standstill, plagued by widespread scepticism. This, combined with prolonged economic stagnation, could deteriorate into a serious crisis. Italy is confronted with this delicate situation at a time when its political system is still searching for a balanced approach to the question of what should be "partisan" and what should be "bipartisan" in a regime of alternating governments. This article provides a map of the principal issues on Italy's European agenda in the three major fields of economic and social policy, foreign and security policy, and institutional reform within the Union, and puts forward proposals for some positions on which it is in Italy's interest to maintain continuity.
Italy and Europe: Key Challenges Again, Ten Years Later by Fabrizio Saccomanni
Italy must remain firmly committed to the euro in order to prevent financial operators from tagging Italy as the weak link in the European chain, triggering concern about the duration of the European monetary construction. Moreover, Italy is the country that should use the margins of flexibility provided for in the reformed Stability and Growth Pact as little as possible to prevent markets from misinterpreting the basic intentions of its budget policy. The challenge is whether Italy's new government will be able to devise rapidly a credible strategy to revive the economy and to stop Italy's gradual marginalisation from the international political and economic scenes.
We Need to be Able to Disagree on European Policies by Jean Pisani-Ferry
Pisani-Ferry underlines the need to be able to find a consensus on Europe that would allow people to express dissatisfaction with specific policies adopted, which are partly the responsibility of the EU and partly the responsibility of member states, without questioning the EU itself. There is still not enough scope for political disagreement among those who favour European integration.
Institutional Reform - A Pragmatic Point of View by Jacek Saryusz-Wolski
Enlargement is not the cause of the EU's problems, instead it has become the scapegoat of the failed Constitutional Treaty. Contrary to what was predicted there is no paralysis in the Council, even though the Nice voting system is still being used. In reality, the predicted division between old and new beneficiaries has not materialised; after enlargement, the total number of confrontational votes has actually decreased. The referenda in France and the Netherlands proved beyond any doubt that institutional reform is not high on the citizens' agenda. Citizens are interested in what decisions are taken not in how they are taken. The focus should be on delivery. The existing potential has to be used with more determination, more consistency.
Trends in Italian Public Opinion Towards Europe by Arcangela Lapolla
Being in the EU is considered an advantage by most Italians, even though there is a clear awareness that it involves some difficulties, above all those deriving from the introduction of the euro, which still generates - even though less than a few years ago - strong concerns and divisions. About half the population has a positive perception of the EU and trusts it, while few have a totally negative and sceptical view. About one-fifth of Italians feel a sense of belonging to Europe. At the same time, many are not well informed, therefore a stronger investment in communicating how and what the EU does could be worthwhile.
Essays - Rethinking the Transatlantic Security Relationship
A Challenged and Challenging Europe: Impact on NATO-EU-US Relations (PDF, 10 pages, 105 KB) by Simon Serfaty
Challenged from within, Europe may be tempted to turn inward, economically as well as politically. The paradox is that, even as a house without windows, Europe will still remain increasingly open to a world that the events of 9/11 have made more dangerous, more intrusive, more unpredictable, and all the more demanding of Europe's attention as America's capacity for leadership is widely questioned. As a result, a challenged Europe may also be a challenging Europe because, even as an unfinished Union, it is a power in the world whose far-reaching influence responds to its global interests and relies on the transformative potential of its non-military capabilities.
Roadmap for a Renewed Transatlantic Security Partnership by Robert Hunter
Three years after what was arguably the lowest point in transatlantic relations since the 1956 Suez Crisis, the United States and the European allies have made substantial progress in mending fences and are now well on the road to working together on the three most critical challenges of our time: combating international terrorism, countering the spread of weapons of mass destruction and crisis management as a means of dealing with threats and challenges. It is fair to say that the "glass" of transatlantic relations on the most important strategic and security issues of the day is "half full" and not "half empty", even though there is still a good distance to go to turn cooperation that is often "convenient" into that of genuine conviction and a common willingness to match words with deeds.
Turkey's Vital and Turbulent Road to the European Union by Mario Zucconi
Most analyses of the profound transformations Turkish politics have undergone in the last decade explain them as simply motivated by the desire to fulfil conditions for EU accession, but the article suggests that changes have been far more complex and that Turkey has developed a truly symbiotic relationship with Europe. Realising that the electoral victories of political Islam in the nineties reflected an important maturation of political representation in the country (a more direct and politically consolidating one, due to the Islamic culture of a majority of the population, than the one offered by the traditional, secularist parties), the article shows on the one hand, that the oppositional past of the governing Justice and Development Party makes it better suited to lead a profound, EU-driven transformation of Turkish laws and institutions while, on the other, its strong identification with Europe has made its ruling the country and the reforms it has brought acceptable to large sectors of the public and of the elites who identify with secularist positions.
The Doha Round and the Future of the Multilateral Trading Regime by Paolo Guerrieri
Wide-ranging changes in the world economy have made WTO functioning mechanisms and decision-making procedures increasingly unable to ensure positive future development of the multilateral trade regime that made decisive contributions to the growth of the world economy in past decades. Not only the actors, but also the contents of trade negotiations have been changing. The international trade regime has been moving towards a new, multipolar structure - a sort of oligopoly characterised by North-South global confrontation. A non-cooperative approach to the Doha Round talks, characterised by autonomous and "egoistic" actions and reactions on the part of all principal actors, above all the US and Europe, could trigger a no-holds-barred war. Cooperative agreements between countries have to be encouraged. It is also evident that the WTO will have to change and adapt to overcome its systemic problems if it is not to be marginalised as a vehicle for trade liberalisation.
The Kuwaiti Succession Crisis and Constitutional Governance in the Gulf by Fred H. Lawson
The way the Kuwaiti succession crisis was played out marks a significant milestone in the consolidation of constitutional governance in Kuwait and is likely to have important ramifications for other Arab Gulf states. The fact that the National Assembly managed to reach an unequivocal decision regarding the successor to the country's long-time ruler did much to rehabilitate its reputation and legitimacy. The resurgent activism of the parliament accompanies the rising influence of Kuwait's variegated Islamist movement. The succession crisis provided an opportunity for Islamist insiders and government officials to gain ground at the expense of liberals, radicals and ruling families alike.
Book Reviews and Notes
Interfacing the European Union with International Relations (PDF, 3 pages, 52 KB)
Raffaella Del Sarto
IAI Library Notes