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Striking a Balance Between Norms and Interests in Italian Foreign Policy: The Balkans and Libya


To what extent is foreign policy driven by norms and/or by interests? Considering the main trends of Italian foreign policy after World War II and two case studies, the Balkans and Libya, this paper investigates the role played by norms and interests and the interconnection between the two in Italian foreign policy. In the Balkans, norms and interests have neatly dovetailed: supporting democratization and the rule of law has also meant furthering Italian security and economic interests in the region. By contrast, Libya was the theatre of an essentially interest-driven foreign policy. Nevertheless, the Italian government’s response to the Libyan crisis between March and May 2011 has interestingly marked a rupture from the recent past.

Versione rivista e aggiornata di un paper preparato per la Summer School "EU as a Normative Power: National Strategic Views on Past Experiences and Challenges" organizzata dal 13 al 16 luglio 2010 da EU Institute for Security Studies, Cambridge University, e College of Europe Natolin European Centre.