© Università degli Studi di Padova - Credits: HCE Web agency
Starting with an analysis of the new legislation on Civil Peace Corps (CPCs) and on Italy’s participation in international missions, this article submits a double research hypothesis. The first is that the setting up of the CPCs could have a significant impact on Italy’s foreign policy, in the sense that it could steer the country towards more ‘pacifist’ and ‘multilateralist’ roles somewhat identifiable with active neutrality. The second hypothesis is that the establishing of CPCs fosters an enhanced role for civil society organisations because of their direct involvement in operations, which were traditionally the exclusive reserve of the realm of ‘high’ politics and of the military, and offers them new scope for intervening in conflict transformation processes. This research hypothesis will be tested in exploratory mode against the cases of Germany, the European 'precedent' which is most similar to the novel Italian experiment, and of the EU Aid Volunteers.