Historical Social Research

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Nicolò Conti, Maurizio Cotta & Luca Verzichelli: The Economic Crisis and its Effects on the Attitudes of Italian Political Elites Towards the EU. [Abstract]

The Italian case is an interesting one for the study of the effects of the economic crisis on the attitudes of political elites. The crisis has been an important intervening factor in the process of domestic party system change. The responses to the challenges of EU-led austerity measures have been at the core of the discussion preceding the 2013 elections, whose results marked a turning point for the Italian political system, with protest votes peaking and new populist parties emerging. This article shows that, despite the domestic political turmoil, most of the markers of the traditional support of the Italian political elites for European integration are still unequivocal. These elites appear much more pro-European than the Italian public; even the representatives of the populist parties do not hold radical views that may reverse the past Italian history within the EU. At the same time, however, multivariate analyses of the determinants of elite attitudes show significant party variations. This brings us to speculate on some possible scenarios of gradual departure from the classic elite posture of acquiescence towards the EU.


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