The Renzi government formed in February 2014 was the youngest cabinet in Italian post-war history. It also had an equal number of male and female ministers—a first in Italian history. This chapter sets the scene by recounting the end of the Letta government before moving on to analyze the formation of the Renzi Cabinet, the competing inter- and intra-party considerations that affected the choice of ministers, and the need to signal technical competence in key economic roles.
On 1 July 2014, Italy took over the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union. Expectations for the Italian presidency were high. This chapter argues that these expectations were always unrealistic, as the Italian presidency had to deal with the fallout of the European Parliament elections. Nevertheless, Italy managed to pursue its interests by securing important nominations to the European Commission, pushing the EU to do more on migration policy, and encouraging moves to foster greater investment at the European level.
Gianfranco Baldini and Alan Renwick
The topic of electoral reform, a recurring feature of the Italian political agenda, resurfaced in 2014. At the start of the year, a ruling by the Constitutional Court returned the country to a proportional system, similar to the one in place during the First Republic. This chapter examines the key political responses to that ruling and how the decision has spurred further electoral reforms, resulting in the most majoritarian system in Italy's democratic history.
Sonia Bussu and Maria Tullia Galanti
In 2014, Italian local government was affected by two key events: the passage of the Delrio law, which drastically reforms areabased government (i.e., provinces, municipal unions, and metropolitan cities) in the expectation that future constitutional reform will eliminate provinces entirely, and the rationalization program drawn up by Carlo Cottarelli, the special commissioner for the review of expenditure, which has profoundly affected the role of local authorities in owning and operating public utilities companies. This chapter traces the processes that led to these two reforms and, in doing so, elucidates the factors that motivated each reform.
Georg Picot and Arianna Tassinari
Reform of the labor market has long been an important and controversial policy area in Italy, and it was one of Matteo Renzi's core concerns when he took up the leadership of the Democratic Party. This chapter recounts the main changes in Italian labor market policy since the 1990s before discussing the Jobs Act, which started as a highly publicized reform project concentrating on changes to public employment services and unemployment benefits, but which the left strongly challenged when dismissal protection was later weakened.
Chris Hanretty and Stefania Profeti
In the summer of 2010, in an interview given to the newspaper La Repubblica, the then little-known mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, erupted onto the political scene by claiming that it was time for the Partito Democratico (PD, Democratic Party) to take a large number of the party’s leading figures to task—or, to use the phrase that would
soon become a battle cry, to “bulldoze” (rottamare) them from the picture. The interview was considered by many in the party to be arrogant and excessively self-aggrandizing—or at least incautious. Yet from that moment on, and probably thanks to this message, Renzi has been able to capture to an ever-greater degree the dissatisfaction and frustrations of a large number of center-left activists and sympathizers, while attracting the curiosity of a large number of Italians of all political persuasions.
Francisca de Haan
The years 1917 and 1918 witnessed the end of the Russian, German, Habsburg, and Ottoman empires, with huge consequences for European and global history. Yet despite the obvious importance of empires to the history of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe, gendered imperialism—especially within Eastern Europe—has received little attention from scholars. The theme section included here, “Rethinking Empire from Eastern Europe,” for which Susan Zimmermann served as guest editor, aims to begin addressing this omission.
An International Symposium, 19–20 April 2014, Istanbul
Francisca de Haan
The Istanbul Women’s Library and Information Center Foundation, on occasion of its twenty-fourth anniversary, together with Yeditepe University organized the international symposium “Writing Women’s Lives: Auto/Biography, Life Narratives, Myths and Historiography,” which took place at Yeditepe University on 19–20 April 2014.
The symposium coordinators were Birsen Talay Keşoğlu, Vehbi Baysan, and Şefik Peksevgen, assisted by eleven more members of the Organizing Committee, including Aslı Davaz, director of the Istanbul Women’s Library.
List of abbreviations