Italy in the EU: love affair or disillusionment? Italian discontent with the European integration, past and present
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After 70 years, have democracy, prosperity, and unity finally reached Italy? Italians are still wondering since the European Union’s (EU’s) promises after World War II remain largely unfulfilled. This thesis analyzes parallels and continuities of Italian politics of disillusionment from the post-World War I period to today’s European crisis, highlighting Italy’s widespread discontent with the EU and its institutions. From the mutilated victory of the Treaty of Versailles to a destructive fascist regime to the promises of future prosperity and progress in the EU, today Italy is still waiting for its early aspirations to materialize. While other EU members and cofounders (notably France and Germany) arrange the EU to their advantage―frequently overlooking Italy’s interests and needs―Italy’s increasing disappointment with the EU has reached an all-time high. This thesis traces these developments through historical analysis of key turning points—the interwar period, fascism, and the postwar democratic transformation. It culminates in a discussion of the current European crisis and Italy’s frustration with the EU by exposing the reasons for the country’s serious consideration of abandoning participation in the EU project.
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