2011 may have been a turning point for Italian foreign policy, which experienced one of the most difficult seasons in its history, caught between the gradual deterioration of its domestic political scene and the parallel collapse of its international credibility and prestige. This was the main topic of the discussion during the conference presenting the 2012 edition of the IAI-ISPI yearbook on Italy's foreign policy and international scenarios. Held at the Italian Senate on April 23, the conference saw the participation of the Italian Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Staffan De Mistura.
Published by “il Mulino” and in bookshops from the end of May 2012, the 13th edition of the yearbook was presented by its two editors: Ettore Greco, IAI Director, and Alessandro Colombo, Professor of International Relations, University of Milan, and director of the programme on Security and Strategic Studies at the ISPI. Taking stock of the Italian foreign policy situation, they highlighted some complicating factors (such as the Arab Spring, the crisis of the US leadership, energy dependence) and possible ways to recover competitiveness (and prestige) and thus prevent the risk of a downgrade.
The two editors agreed that something has to be done to put an end to, or at least, slow down this failing trend, although the increasing fragmentation and constant uncertainty of the international scenario certainly do not help. That is why, De Mistura pointed out, works such as the IAI-ISPI yearbook are a valuable tool for government: they provide a broad overview of the status quo and help create a clear identity for the country – what Italy needs most today.
The IAI-ISPI analysis sees the early diplomatic actions of Mario Monti’s government providing some positive signals, even though 2012 is predicted to be full of difficulties in those scenarios in which Italian foreign policy has always been traditionally weak., Results have yet to be verified however: increased credibility demands more reliability, increased efficiency and, above all, more appropriate investment of resources.