The Italian permanent representation at Brussels has received very little academic or political attention, and there has been no explicit debate as to how this body should be shaped. Even when the central government decided that it should control all aspects of the formulation of EC policies though delegating to regions their implementation in a number of cases, the permanent representation was not even mentioned in the legislation. It is argued that this neglect is problematic for several reasons, which are discussed. An explanation is advanced for this neglect in terms of the high politics of Italian membership of the European Community. The chapter is organized in five sections: first, a brief examination is made of the broader problem determined by the lack of a central authority to co-ordinate of EU policies in Italy; second and third, the functions and powers of the permanent representation, and its organization and internal functioning are considered; fourth, the division of labour between the central authorities (the Italian government) and the permanent representation is examined; finally, other policy networks that influence Italian European policies are discussed.
Keywords: Brussels, EU policy, European Union, functions, internal functioning, Italian government, Italian permanent representation, Italy, national policy, organization, policy co-ordination, policy networks, powers
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