A permanent national security council in Italy would have major benefits for Italian foreign and defence policy, says Andrea Ruggeri.

Professor of Political Science and International Relations Andrea Ruggeri has co-written a new policy brief, An International Peacekeeper: The Evolution of Italian Foreign and Defence Policy, sponsored by the Italian Government’s Ministry of  Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The policy brief, which is particularly relevant in light of the war in Ukraine and increased talks of the creation of a European army (see EU March  2022 Strategic Compass”), was commissioned by the Observatory of Italian Foreign Policy – a collaboration between two of Italy’s largest foreign policy think-tanks. The subsequent policy paper is being circulated among Italian policy makers and members of the Foreign Affairs Commission in the Italian parliament.

In their analysis, Professor Ruggeri and his co-author Dr Fabrizio Coticchia recommend that Italy creates new standardised and systematic evaluation methods, and inclusive and transparent analysis for assessing and planning peacekeeping missions and military actions.

Andrea says: "Italy is one of the most active European countries with peacekeeping forces–in 2021 Italy was active in more than 40 military operations–so we now need standard practices in order to ensure lessons are learnt."

They also advocate creating a permanent national security council similar to the US model to develop robust analysis and long-term decision-making on Italy’s foreign policy, defence strategy and peacekeeping activities. This is especially important as, since the Cold War, Italy has been increasingly active within international peacekeeping.

A move to long-term proactivity rather than short-term reactivity would give Italy’s missions the best chance of success and help avoid costly mistakes.

The discussion on a Italy’s possible peacekeeping mission to Libya is one such example of a strategic failure, that Andrea has previously written about. Such strategic slip-ups could be avoided in the future if their recommendations are implemented, the authors suggest.

We need to use the national budget effectively and protect the lives of people where peacekeepers are deployed as well as those of Italy’s military personnel.
Andrea Ruggeri