Subject matter of the book: The chapter is part of an ambitious editorial project promoted and supported by a team of German scholars who are experts in Italian politics and regionalism, coordinated by Alexander Grasse (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Fachbereich Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaften, Institut für Politikwissenschaft). Their plan was to take stock of the work of the Renzi government, both economically and politically, reconstructing the framework of decisions in the most important areas of policy-making. Numerous Italian scholars participated in the project, writing a thematic chapter (Silvia Bolgherini, Luciano Vandelli, Daniele Donati, Francesco Marangoni and Luca Verzichelli, Fabio Bordignon and Luigi Ceccarini, Carlo Viesti, Francesca Gelli, Nicola Bellini, Enrico Carloni). Within this context, I have been asked of an analysis of the implementation of cohesion policy in Italy - I was in the running of the Jean Monnet Chair on EU public policies; the specific recommendation was for a reconstruction of the context over a significant period of time and not only limited to the years of the Renzi government. The chapter has been subject to two revisions by the Scientific Committee. A series of in-depth interviews to key-observers was necessary for the preparation of the essay. Content of the chapter: In the 2014-2020 programming of EU Cohesion Policy Funds, an outcome of intergovernmental negotiations was that a huge amount of financial aids was allocated to Italy being the second largest recipient country, among the 28 Member States, particularly in the view of unsolved economic and social problems that first and foremost hit Southern Regions thereby augmenting already existing regional disparities. This decision implied a big responsibility of the Italian national government, in the face of EU institutions and Member States, of using adequately funds for change. The present essay focuses on Italian Regional Policy in the period 2011-2016 starting from 2011, when Mario Monti Government was formed and Fabrizio Barca was co-opted to serve as Minister of Territorial Cohesion. The analysis tries to reconstruct a picture of what happened to Regional Policy in Italy in those years in the framework of the more general reform of the Cohesion Policy at an European level from a policy approach, attempting at an explication of main changes, difficulties in practical implementation, and inquiring into the gradual involution of the policy, and the uneven governmental attempts to make things work; a chain of adverse events and unplanned changes is listed, which together with political instability at the national level can partially justify difficulties of implementation. Mostly what emerges is a public culture of mere efficiency (all focused on the dimension of spending performance and formal decisions) with poor socio-institutional learning of innovations in governance and of sustainable practices of economic growth and development, in a systematic underestimation of policy implementation and adaptation (i.e., of the complexity of joint action), and in carelessness of outcomes evaluation (with no interest to the perspective of policy-takers). Research methodology: Main sources have been: official documents, press review, interviews to Ministries, politicians, top senior bureaucrats of central administrations of the State and Regional administrations in charge with the programming and implementation of EU policies. Open-ended interviews carried out by the author: 1. Barbieri, Alessandra: Head of Office, Euro-Design and Fund-Raising, Municipality of Florence, Florence, July 15, 2016 2. Barca, Fabrizio: former Minister for Territorial Cohesion, Department of Treasury, Italian Ministry of the Economy and Finance, Rome, November 12, 2014 3. Castiglioni, Paolo: Head of Office, Smart City and Supranational projects, Municipality of Genoa, Genoa, July 21, 2016 4. Cecchinato, Pietro: Chief of the Department of Policies and International Cooperation, Programming and Management Authority ERDF, Regione Veneto, Venice, June 27, 2014 5. de Luca, Sabina: Chief of the Department of EU policies, Urban Development Projects and Programme Coordination Service Unit, Roma Capitale, Rome, July 4, 2016 6. Marconi, Pia: Chief of the Department of Public Function, Office for the Modernization of Public Administrations, Rome, May 7,2013 7. Martinese, Francesca: Head of Office, International Relation and Projects, Department of Urban Economy and Promotion, Municipality of Bologna, Bologna, July 8, 2016 8. Mazziotto, Marco: Head of Office, Foreign Affairs Department-EU Policies Office, Municipality of Milan, Milan, July 22, 2016 9. Ornaghi, Lorenzo: former Minister of Cultural Heritage, Università La Cattolica, Milan, May 15, 2013 10. Ravenna, Paola: Head of Office, Service of EU Policies and Fund-Raising, Municipality of Venice, Venice, September 28, 2016 11. Saba, Gianluca: Head of Office, International Relations, Municipality of Genoa, Genoa, July 21, 2016 12. Vetritto, Giovanni: Chief of the secretary’s office for the Minister Fabrizio Barca, Presidency of the Council of Minister, Rome, April 19, 2013 13. Vitali, Walter: former Senator (Democratic Party) and president of the Parliament’s intergroup on urban policies, Bologna, March 6, 2013 and May 2, 2017

Evolution without Learning? : The Contentious Issue of EU Regional Policy in Italy (2011-2016)

GELLI, FRANCESCA
2018

Abstract

Subject matter of the book: The chapter is part of an ambitious editorial project promoted and supported by a team of German scholars who are experts in Italian politics and regionalism, coordinated by Alexander Grasse (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Fachbereich Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaften, Institut für Politikwissenschaft). Their plan was to take stock of the work of the Renzi government, both economically and politically, reconstructing the framework of decisions in the most important areas of policy-making. Numerous Italian scholars participated in the project, writing a thematic chapter (Silvia Bolgherini, Luciano Vandelli, Daniele Donati, Francesco Marangoni and Luca Verzichelli, Fabio Bordignon and Luigi Ceccarini, Carlo Viesti, Francesca Gelli, Nicola Bellini, Enrico Carloni). Within this context, I have been asked of an analysis of the implementation of cohesion policy in Italy - I was in the running of the Jean Monnet Chair on EU public policies; the specific recommendation was for a reconstruction of the context over a significant period of time and not only limited to the years of the Renzi government. The chapter has been subject to two revisions by the Scientific Committee. A series of in-depth interviews to key-observers was necessary for the preparation of the essay. Content of the chapter: In the 2014-2020 programming of EU Cohesion Policy Funds, an outcome of intergovernmental negotiations was that a huge amount of financial aids was allocated to Italy being the second largest recipient country, among the 28 Member States, particularly in the view of unsolved economic and social problems that first and foremost hit Southern Regions thereby augmenting already existing regional disparities. This decision implied a big responsibility of the Italian national government, in the face of EU institutions and Member States, of using adequately funds for change. The present essay focuses on Italian Regional Policy in the period 2011-2016 starting from 2011, when Mario Monti Government was formed and Fabrizio Barca was co-opted to serve as Minister of Territorial Cohesion. The analysis tries to reconstruct a picture of what happened to Regional Policy in Italy in those years in the framework of the more general reform of the Cohesion Policy at an European level from a policy approach, attempting at an explication of main changes, difficulties in practical implementation, and inquiring into the gradual involution of the policy, and the uneven governmental attempts to make things work; a chain of adverse events and unplanned changes is listed, which together with political instability at the national level can partially justify difficulties of implementation. Mostly what emerges is a public culture of mere efficiency (all focused on the dimension of spending performance and formal decisions) with poor socio-institutional learning of innovations in governance and of sustainable practices of economic growth and development, in a systematic underestimation of policy implementation and adaptation (i.e., of the complexity of joint action), and in carelessness of outcomes evaluation (with no interest to the perspective of policy-takers). Research methodology: Main sources have been: official documents, press review, interviews to Ministries, politicians, top senior bureaucrats of central administrations of the State and Regional administrations in charge with the programming and implementation of EU policies. Open-ended interviews carried out by the author: 1. Barbieri, Alessandra: Head of Office, Euro-Design and Fund-Raising, Municipality of Florence, Florence, July 15, 2016 2. Barca, Fabrizio: former Minister for Territorial Cohesion, Department of Treasury, Italian Ministry of the Economy and Finance, Rome, November 12, 2014 3. Castiglioni, Paolo: Head of Office, Smart City and Supranational projects, Municipality of Genoa, Genoa, July 21, 2016 4. Cecchinato, Pietro: Chief of the Department of Policies and International Cooperation, Programming and Management Authority ERDF, Regione Veneto, Venice, June 27, 2014 5. de Luca, Sabina: Chief of the Department of EU policies, Urban Development Projects and Programme Coordination Service Unit, Roma Capitale, Rome, July 4, 2016 6. Marconi, Pia: Chief of the Department of Public Function, Office for the Modernization of Public Administrations, Rome, May 7,2013 7. Martinese, Francesca: Head of Office, International Relation and Projects, Department of Urban Economy and Promotion, Municipality of Bologna, Bologna, July 8, 2016 8. Mazziotto, Marco: Head of Office, Foreign Affairs Department-EU Policies Office, Municipality of Milan, Milan, July 22, 2016 9. Ornaghi, Lorenzo: former Minister of Cultural Heritage, Università La Cattolica, Milan, May 15, 2013 10. Ravenna, Paola: Head of Office, Service of EU Policies and Fund-Raising, Municipality of Venice, Venice, September 28, 2016 11. Saba, Gianluca: Head of Office, International Relations, Municipality of Genoa, Genoa, July 21, 2016 12. Vetritto, Giovanni: Chief of the secretary’s office for the Minister Fabrizio Barca, Presidency of the Council of Minister, Rome, April 19, 2013 13. Vitali, Walter: former Senator (Democratic Party) and president of the Parliament’s intergroup on urban policies, Bologna, March 6, 2013 and May 2, 2017
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