Sunday

29th May 2022

Italy appoints second EU envoy in two months

  • Renzi said he needed an economic development minister who "knew how to run the machine" (Photo: Giampaolo Macorig)

The man who was supposed to lead Italy’s new-found assertiveness in European affairs has been called back to Rome less than two months into the job.

Carlo Calenda, nominated ambassador to the EU in January and in office since 21 March, is going to be the new minister for economic development, prime minister Matteo Renzi announced late on Sunday (8 May).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“I asked him to come back from Brussels,” Renzi said in an interview with RAI state television.

Calenda, due to be sworn in by the end of the week, previously served as a deputy at the ministry he is going to lead, which deals with industry subsidies, labour disputes, energy policy and foreign trade.

Renzi said he was picked because he needed someone who “already knew how to run the machine”.

The 43 year-old replaces Federica Guidi, who resigned on 31 March over conflict-of-interest allegations.

Police wiretaps revealed that her boyfriend had successfully lobbied her to add an amendment to Italy’s budget law for 2015 that favoured an oil-drilling project in which he had an interest.

The abrupt change at Italy’s permanent representation to the EU is seen as a surprise since Renzi had invested a lot of political capital in Calenda’s appointment, making him the first non-professional diplomat to fill an ambassadorial position in more than 60 years.

It came after another frontrunner for Guidi’s job, former energy manager Chicco Testa, turned down the position, and amid mounting criticism that Renzi’s main weakness is the lack of political talent around him.

“Renzi’s biggest asset, as well as his main problem, is himself," political journalist and author Marco Damilano told the foreign press association in Rome on 22 April.

"After more than two years in government, everything is still centred around him, his energy, his communication skills, his political instinct. Besides that, there is a void.”

Feature

Renzi's chance to act like a grown-up

With other EU states busy on internal issues, the Italian PM sees a chance to push his vision of Europe. Friday's Papal visit by EU leaders will showcase the new Renzi.

A €45bn headache for Italy

Italian banks stricken by massive amounts of bad loans and falling shares are becoming a financial and political problem for PM Matteo Renzi and for the EU.

Orbán's new state of emergency under fire

Hungary's premier Viktor Orbán declared a state of emergency due to the war in neighbouring Ukraine hours after pushing a constitutional amendment through parliament, where two-thirds of MPs are controlled by his Fidesz party, allowing his government special powers.

Orbán's new state of emergency under fire

Hungary's premier Viktor Orbán declared a state of emergency due to the war in neighbouring Ukraine hours after pushing a constitutional amendment through parliament, where two-thirds of MPs are controlled by his Fidesz party, allowing his government special powers.

Opinion

When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin

Neither Reagan nor Gorbachev achieved their goal at the famous Reykjavik summit of 1986. Despite that fact there are lessons that current leaders — particularly Vladimir Putin — could adopt from these two iconic leaders.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us