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Italy / The European Policy of Cohesion
The essay reviews some of the results of an ongoing survey on Italy’s role in Europe and, more precisely, on the institutional and policy adjustments that have developed in the course of the Nineties in the matter of cohesion. More specifically, it analyses Italy’s role not only in the so-called upward phase of the Community decision-making process but also in the downward phase, explaining both Italy’s traditional delays in implementing decisions and the significant innovations of the Nineties. Over the last few years, the progressive ‘Europeanisation’ of Italian public policies has led to a redefinition of legislative and organisational instruments and, in the wake of the earthquake that shook the Italian political system in the Nineties, a speeding up of phenomena such as the centralisation of decision-making power within the executive, the growing clout of regional governments in the decision-making process and the modernisation of the central bureaucracy. The essay concludes with more general reflections on changes in government and the inspiring principles of Italian public policies, bearing in mind the nascent European political system, made up not only of national states but also of other governing players such as the European Commission and the Regional Authorities.