Tuesday

12th Dec 2017

Rome continues to push Italian FM to replace Ashton

  • Mogherini has 20 years of experience in foreign policy issues, Rome says (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Rome is continuing to push Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini to be the next EU foreign policy chief, despite opposition based on her experience and her country's perceived pro-Russia stance.

Asked whether Mogherini was still in the running, Europe affairs minister Sandro Gozi said on Wednesday (23 July): "Yes, of course [her candidacy] is on the table."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We do believe that Federica Mogherini has all the qualities to be a good high representative [for EU foreign relations]. I personally never understood the criticism on her supposed lack of experience."

"She is somebody who has been following and working in foreign policy for 20 years."

Speaking after a meeting of Europe ministers in Brussels, Gozi added that blocking Mogherini would also be contrary to the EU's supposed intention to start afresh after the EU vote in May illustrated that many citizens wanted to change how the EU does its business.

He argued it would be "difficult" to have a new start only with "very experienced male politicians", alluding to the fact that her appointment would help with the EU's gender-balance goals.

The EU foreign policy chief is simultaneously a vice-president of the European Commission, whose team of 28 commissioners needs to contain at least nine women - a political goal demanded by the European Parliament.

"These are all good points that push to confirm her candidacy. We have never hesitated on this even in the last days," said Gozi.

Mogherini emerged as a name for the foreign policy post, currently held by Catherine Ashton, when the centre-left demanded that the job go to a Socialist after the centre-right Jean-Claude Juncker scooped the European Commission presidency.

Since then, Italian PM Matteo Renzi has put much political capital into her replacing Ashton.

The Russia question

However, Mogherini's bid ran into opposition from some eastern countries, particularly Lithuania, who perceive Italy as being too pro-Russia.

The division meant that a summit of EU leaders earlier this month saw no decision on either that post or the President of the European Council.

And since that summit, member states' attitudes across the EU have hardened towards Moscow following the shooting down on 17 July of the Malaysia Airlines flight, allegedly by Russia-backed separatist rebels.

Meanwhile, others are looking for the jobs themselves, including Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski, who played a strong role as the Ukraine crisis started to develop last year.

On Tuesday in Brussels, he noted that his political group, the centre- right EPP, believes that "in these ever more difficult times for Europe in terms of events in its neighbourhood, Europe needs a strong leadership, which also reflects geographic balance."

Both of the EU top posts are due to be decided at a summit in Brussels on 30 August, after which the full commissioner team and their portfolios will become clear too.

EU administrative commissioner Maros Sefcovic said that despite the delay in agreeing the two top posts, the process is "still well on schedule".

The European Parliament is to grill all the commissioner nominees - including the EU foreign policy chief - in the third and fourth weeks of September, while the new commission as a whole is due to be sworn in at the beginning of November.

Opposition to Mogherini fading in EU capital

A deal is shaping up for Italian foreign minister Mogherini to become the EU's next foreign affairs chief, provided the PM of Poland or a Baltic leader takes up the EU Council presidency.

Opinion

EU top jobs: of dwarfs and giants

The decision will be taken this week: Who will be the successor to Catherine Ashton, the quasi foreign minister of the EU?

Analysis

From Solana to Mogherini: What did Ashton really do?

Ashton's defenders say she created Europe's foreign service and clinched the Iran and Kosovo-Serbia accords. But in fact she played a minor role in all three, posing the question: How should we remember the EU's first foreign policy chief?

Watchdogs concerned by EU-US data pact

European data protection authorities tell US to improve oversight on 'Privacy Shield' scheme, otherwise they would go to the EU's highest court.

News in Brief

  1. EU to Israel: Don't expect us to move embassies
  2. EU Commission condemns anti-semitic 'Jerusalem' protests
  3. Ministers have 'lots of questions' on new CAP plans
  4. Commission: Brexit agreement is 'deal between gentlemen'
  5. 25 EU states sign defence cooperation pact
  6. Netanyahu wants 'hardy' talks with EU on Jerusalem
  7. French centre-right elects new leader
  8. Germany and UK increase arms sales

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. Alignment with EU is 'last resort', May tells MPs
  2. Iceland: further from EU membership than ever
  3. Israel presses Jerusalem claim in EU capital
  4. From dark coal toward a brighter future
  5. UK casts doubt on EU deal in 'bizarre' twist
  6. Romania wants EU signal on Schengen membership
  7. Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants
  8. No chance of expanding EU warrant crime list