ESVEI tackles structural issues that in recent years are increasing the vulnerability to external interference of democratic processes, taking Italy as a case study.

It aims at increasing awareness, initiating policy debates, and providing sensible, forward-looking policy recommendations in three domains that are central to democratic processes in modern societies, but that, due to inadequate regulations and poor practices, needlessly expose such processes to meddling:

social media and disinformation; 


transparency of funding and lobbying;   



Transparency of funding and lobbying

In depth

ESVEI Italy: doing politics with politicians’ money

Gianluca De FeoOrnaldo Gjergji | 19/12/2019

After the abolition of direct public funding of politics in 2013, Italy intended to increase private donations. However, the numbers tell a different story: little funding comes from “big donors”, while a lot comes from elected representatives. Meanwhile, the absence of direct public funding in Italy remains a European anomaly.

Doing politics without public funds, the speakers' interventions

Niccolò Caranti | 28/11/2019

We publish the detailed report of the speakers' interventions at the policy workshop "Doing politics without public funds. New vulnerabilities and transparency challenges", which took place on November 20th, 2019 in Rome, as part of the ESVEI project promoted by OBCT/ CCI

Political parties, think tanks, and other animals

Niccolò Caranti | 15/11/2019

Politics is not only made in parties, but also in think tanks: research centres, places of relationships and safes. In Italy the transparency law has equated them with parties, but the issue is complex

Italian parties: from funding without rules to rules without funding

Daniela R. Piccio* | 13/11/2019

A picture of the transformations of funding to Italian politics, from the introduction of direct public funding to political parties in 1974 to its abolition and the regulation of transparency in recent years

Dossier The funding of politics in Italy

Fazıla MatNiccolò Caranti | 18/11/2019

In Italy the abolition of direct public funding to parties gave a greater role to private financing, increasing the risk of undue influence on the democratic process. A dossier as a part of the ESVEI project

Political funding and external interference: limits on donations, transparency, and controls

Giorgio Comai | 23/10/2019

In Italy, the abolition of public funding for politics has made political actors more dependent on private subjects and potentially more vulnerable to interference. It is therefore urgent to adjust the legislative framework and introduce measures that reduce these vulnerabilities and ensure actual transparency. Some reflections and concrete proposals

Budgets and donations, the great transparency bluff

OpenPolis | 21/10/2019

The current rules to make political funding more transparent do not work. Unusable data and inaccessible information make transparency a bluff. From OpenPolis, a proposal on how to solve the problem

Party financing: to fight corruption transparency is needed

Niccolò Caranti | 17/9/2019

Interview with Gianluca Esposito, executive secretary of GRECO, the Council of Europe's anti-corruption body

Political funding: years of scandals

Niccolò Caranti | 27/8/2019

An interactive map of some of the main cases of scandals related to political parties and campaign funding in Europe. In some cases the (alleged) financing is illegal in itself, in some others the scandal derives from the lack of transparency

INTERVIEW Lobbying in Italy and legislator schizophrenia

Niccolò Caranti | 29/7/2019

In Italy today lobbying is regulated in an inconsistent manner and rules are not applied. Greater transparency is necessary for investors too, but this situation is convenient for politics. Interview with Pier Luigi Petrillo

Read our editorial

Disinformation campaigns, dubious practices on social media, murkey financing of political campaigns and lobby groups, timed hacked and leaks: new structural vulnerabilities to our democracies are there for anyone to exploit. It’s time to focus our public conversation on new policies and practices that can mitigate these risks

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The project ESVEI is supported in part by a grant from the Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the OSIFE of the Open Society Foundations. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa.