This article explores the first declaredly populist and Eurosceptical Italian government’s role as a potential driver of de-Europeanization dynamics in Italian foreign policy. After describing the M5S–League government’s discursive de-Europeanization on core substantive EU values, the article focuses on multilateralism, a critical pillar of Italian foreign policy and a substantive norm of the European Union, and investigates the actual foreign policy conduct in the UN General Assembly. By analyzing the voting and sponsoring behavior of the M5S-League government, the article systematically assesses variations in de-Europeanization’s critical dimensions (culture of cooperation, repudiation of substantive norms, disengagement, and circumvention). The article found that Italy maintained its constructive role in EU coordination in the UN General Assembly, so the discursive de-Europeanization did not translate into a substantial foreign policy change. However, migration was an exception: on a critical political issue, the government adopted a more assertive stance.

Carla Monteleone (2021) Foreign policy and de-Europeanization under the M5S–League government: exploring Italian behavior in the UN General Assembly, Journal of European Integration, 43:5, 551-567, DOI: 10.1080/07036337.2021.1927009