Italy and the Mediterranean: Relations with the Maghreb countries
After outlining the trends of Italian Mediterranean politics, this article examines the relationship between Italy and the Maghreb region. As a result of its central geographic position, acting as a natural bridge between Europe and Africa, Italy is undoubtedly more exposed and vulnerable than other countries to any critical developments in the political and economic situation of this area, so it is understandable that it occupies an increasingly important position in Italian foreign policy. Italy has especially considered it in its national interest to make it a specific, high priority to contribute to stabilising this region through multilateral and bilateral initiatives aimed at reinforcing political dialogue and economic cooperation with the coastal countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean. The aim has been to create a safety net around Italian maritime borders against the risks posed by an uncontrolled increase in migration (to which Italy is more exposed than other countries), the instability of North African energy resources and Islamist terrorists infiltrating Italian territory. Apart from examining the concerns regarding the Maghreb region that have become crucially important for Italian national interests (security, immigration, development, energy), the article analyses the salient elements of bilateral relations between Italy and the Maghreb countries, particularly Libya.