Sunday

3rd Jul 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.

Opinion

Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways

For the most part Nato and its 30 leaders rose to the occasion — but it wasn't without room for improvement. The lesson remains that Nato still doesn't know how or want to hold allies accountable for disruptive behaviour.

Opinion

Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways

For the most part Nato and its 30 leaders rose to the occasion — but it wasn't without room for improvement. The lesson remains that Nato still doesn't know how or want to hold allies accountable for disruptive behaviour.

MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship

Two MEPs have withdrawn their nominations from the MEPs Awards over the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis's participation as a sponsor — currently involved in an alleged bribery scandal in Greece.

News in Brief

  1. EU Parliament 'photographs protesting interpreters'
  2. Poland still failing to meet EU judicial criteria
  3. Report: Polish president fishing for UN job
  4. Auditors raise alarm on EU Commission use of consultants
  5. Kaliningrad talks needed with Russia, says Polish PM
  6. Report: EU to curb state-backed foreign takeovers
  7. EU announces trade deal with New Zealand
  8. Russia threatens Norway over goods transit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways
  2. Czech presidency to fortify EU embrace of Ukraine
  3. Covid-profiting super rich should fight hunger, says UN food chief
  4. EU pollution and cancer — it doesn't have to be this way
  5. Israel smeared Palestinian activists, EU admits
  6. MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship
  7. If Russia collapses — which states will break away?
  8. EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us