Тhe return of the concept of the Аdriatic and Ionian region in Italian foreign policy

Alexander A. Pivovarenko ORCID logo

Published on 5 May 2023


ABSTRACT: The paper analyses several components of Italy’s foreign policy in Southeastern Europe. The appearance of the Eastern-Adriatic Euroregion in Italian analytical literature in the 2010s, along with empirical data, points to the growing interest of Rome to strengthen its own positions, primarily in the countries in its immediate neighbourhood. The starting point for this study is consistent Italian support to the candidate countries applying membership in the European Union. Equally important is the question of the nature of Italian relations with the Balkan members of the EU. Another noteworthy problem is the military-diplomatic and economic aspects of Italian presence in the region and the humanitarian influence Rome actively used in the 2000s in Eastern Adriatic countries. The paper attempts to conceptualize the policy of Italy in the Eastern Adriatic region, as well as in the Balkans in general. The results of the analysis can perhaps add to our understanding of a whole set of political and economic processes related to the issue of European integration in the Balkans. The need to find more accurate answers to the question of EU enlargement prospects has led the author to move away from the institutional and normative approach that characterizes most research related to this topic and instead use a combination of the structural approach and world-systems analysis. A possible tool is the concept of so-called “regional systems/subsystems” or “techno-economic blocs” that build on it.

KEY WORDS: Italy, Eastern Adriatic, Balkans, EU enlargement, NATO.