Europeanization of National Administrations: an Assessment of the Italian Antitrust Authority and Environment Agency Cases
A paper discussing the development of independent authorities and agencies in Italy and their interaction with national government and the European Commission. As is argued, direct relations between national agencies and EU institutions are often detrimental to government control.
During the 1990s, Italian public administration laid the foundation of a new genre of independent agencies and authorities. Whether it represented a "revolution" for the Italian administrative system or just a formal change with few implications for administrative course of action is still not clear. In this paper the cases of the Environment Agency and Antitrust Authority will be analyzed, focusing on the influence of the European Union on changes implemented in Italy. Specifically, we will investigate the extent of linkages between these Italian institutions and the communitarian ones, to the detriment of Italian ministries.
The macro-, micro-, and meso-levels of this institutional dynamic process will be taken into account, along with a review of organizational, managerial and financial features of the institutions. The analysis takes into consideration the EU pressure on the Italian government and bureaucracy (macro-level), the characteristics of the Italian decision-makers (micro-level) and of Italian public administration institutional structures, processes and culture (meso-level). The changes occurring in the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Italian government, the public independent institutions, and the EU will be considered. On the basis of this evaluation some predictions of future development will be posed. Some final considerations will clarify the degree to which EU-Italian independent institutions linkages have been established and the "resistant" behavior of the Italian government.
(This paper will be published in 2006 as a book chapter in M. Egeberg (ed.) The Multilevel Union Administration (Houndmills: Palgrave).