Italy and the Idea of Europe

Mario Telò

in European Stories

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199594627
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595738 | DOI:
Italy and the Idea of Europe

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Mario Telò focuses on the intellectual impetus for the rise of a large domestic consensus in favour of a federal European Union achieved in Italy during the First Republic (1947–1992), particularly in the 1989 referendum, and addresses the role of intellectuals in explaining the continuities and discontinuities found in ideas about Europe between the First and Second Republic (1992–2008). The main argument is that the current normalisation of a pro–European intellectual presence in Italy maintains national particularities which cannot be explained without what the French historian Fernand Braudel called a longue durée approach. To this end, Telò demonstrates how seminal figures such as Altiero Spinelli and Alcide De Gasperi, and Catholic intellectuals more generally, laid the foundations for contemporary Italian narratives on Europe. He argues that these are now moving towards bipartisan convergences on EU Treaty ratification and a decline of the classical Euro‐federalist approach that are moving Italy closer to a mainstream stance of pro‐Europeanism.

Keywords: continuity; Catholic intellectuals; Altiero Spinelli; Alcide De Gasperi; 1989 referendum

Chapter.  10366 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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