This important report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. Italy boasts the fourth-largest military establishment within the European Union and the sixth-largest in NATO, so Italian national security efforts and collective contributions have trans-European and even global significance. Italy has historically been an avid supporter of European integration, but nationalist movements promoting euroscepticism or isolationism threaten to alter both the Italian and the European security landscape. Three major political parties in Italy—the Northern League, the Five Star Movement, and Forza Italia—present nationalist positions of differing magnitude that could threaten Italy's pro-European Union position. It is consistent with U.S. and Alliance interests, therefore, to examine the most important factors fueling nationalist movements and to assess the security implications of these movements' policies. This study surveys the main nationalist movements in contemporary Italy and identifies seven factors that promote Italian nationalism or euroscepticism: a tumultuous history and political environment, the north-south divide, the Italian national character, a struggling national economy, Italian-Russian relations, EU and NATO enlargement, and the ongoing immigration crisis. This study also examines Italy's role in the major Euro-Atlantic security institutions and assesses how nationalist movements may affect the country's international security role.
The study contains four follow-on chapters: Italian nationalist movements, factors promoting nationalism or euroscepticism in Italy, Italy's role in Euro-Atlantic security and defense, and a conclusion assessing the security implications of nationalist movements in Italy. Chapter II establishes the historical context of Italian nationalism and clarifies, in order from most radical to least radical, the nationalist or eurosceptical positions of the Northern League, the Five Star Movement, and Forza Italia. The Northern League campaigns on the economic and cultural supremacy of Padania and is overtly hostile toward Rome and Brussels alike. The Five Star Movement is sceptical of the EU but publicly advocates only withdrawal from the euro zone vice complete withdrawal from the EU. Some party members, including party leader Beppe Grillo, also advocate exiting NATO. Forza Italia is even less overtly eurosceptical but is opportunist when it perceives that euroscepticism will benefit its interests.
Chapter III examines seven key factors that promote nationalism and/or euroscepticism in Italy: a tumultuous history and political environment, regional divides, the Italian national character, a struggling economy in the aftermath of the euro zone crisis, Russian relations, enlargement of the Euro-Atlantic security institutions, and the ongoing immigration crisis. Chapter IV focuses on Italy's role in NATO and the EU, analyzing contributions to both Euro-Atlantic security institutions. An examination of how the EU and NATO support or undermine Italian national interests is then provided.
Finally, Chapter V assesses the security implications stemming from nationalism and euroscepticism and offers recommendations to address some of these issues. Regarding NATO and the EU, this study concludes that nationalist movements largely remain committed to NATO but also tend to alter Italy's behavior within the Alliance as well as the Alliance's prioritization of issues. Nationalist movements are much more critical of the EU, and a complete exit from the EU is unlikely yet also quite possible. Even if Italy remains in EU, these movements affect Italy's level of support for the EU.