Transnational Networks Meet National Hierarchies: the Cases of the Italian Competition and Environment Administrations

  • Dario Barbieri
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


One of the most important outcomes of the Italian administrative reform during the 1990s was the creation of new institutions characterized by a variable degree of independence from the ministries. Some studies have shown that the content and strategy of this reform did not represent a paradigmatic change (Capano 2003), but rather an evolutionary adaptation to external pressures, mainly from the New Public Management (NPM) approach (Peters 1997). The NPM approach was characterized by the aim of finding new solutions to challenges common to most of the western public administrations through promoting, among other things, privatization, decentralization, flexibility and, more generally, suggesting the application of private administrative principles to the public realm (Hood 1991). Reorganization of the Italian ministries and the development of independent structures with a certain degree of autonomy were explicit results of NPM-inspired reforms occurring in the Italian public administration. In 1999 alone, nineteen agencies were created or completely reorganized. I focus my analysis on the Environment Agency (Agenzia per la Protezione dell’Ambiente e per i Servizi Tecnici — APAT), which was originally formed in 1993 as Agenzia Nazionale per la Protezione dell’Ambiente, with a different structure and mandate. The existence of so-called independent administrative authorities (independent institutions with regulatory and inspection competences) in the Italian public administration goes back to the early 1970s. However, the majority were initiated during the 1990s, including the Antitrust Authority (Autorita’ Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato — AGCM), the other institution considered in this chapter.


Competition Policy European Environment Agency Antitrust Authority National Ministry Transnational Network 
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© Dario Barbieri 2006

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  • Dario Barbieri

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