Italian politics and the European Union: a tale of two research designs
Radaelli, Claudio M.
University of Sussex; University of Exeter
West European Politics
Taylor & Francis
Drawing on the conceptual framework of Europeanisation, we trace the influence of the European Union (EU) on Italian politics by combining top-down analysis (that is, how Italy has adapted to pressure coming from Brussels) with a bottom-up examination of how Italian policy makers have encountered the EU in their attempts to pursue domestic policy goals. We find that the foreign policy orientation and policy preferences of the governing coalition determine the posture, style and choice of institutional venues. Taken together, bottom-up and top-down assessments of Europeanisation suggest that, during the second Berlusconi government, the influence of the EU in Italian politics was limited - although not trivial. When the Berlusconi government (2001-06) faced high pressure, it tried to reduce it at source rather than adapting to EU policies. By contrast, the centre-left governments (1996-2001) used pressure as a lever for policy change, while the governments of the 1980s responded to pressure by delaying implementation.
18 month embargo by the publisher. Article will be released March 2009.
30 (4), pp. 924-943