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Italy's policy towards European monetary integration: Bringing ideas back in?

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This article deals with Italy's policy towards European monetary integration over the period 1978-99 addressing the questions of whether , how and which 'ideas' influenced Italian policy-makers' choices. This theoretically informed and empirically grounded analysis argues that cognitive and normative elements, encompassing both 'economic ideas' and 'foreign policy beliefs', bring significant added value in explaining the 'Italian road' to economic and monetary union (EMU). Secondly, economic ideas alone do not explain Italian policy-makers' choices and, whenever different cognitive factors pulled in opposite directions, it was pro-European foreign policy beliefs that eventually prevailed in shaping policy. Thirdly, both foreign policy beliefs and economic ideas represent an intriguing case of the Europeanization of the Italian élites and the impact that such processes had on the trajectory of the country within the European Union.

Keywords: Economic and monetary union; European monetary integration; Europeanization; Italy; ideas; élites

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Limerick, Ireland

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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