Renzi irked as Mogherini waits to learn EU fate

Italy's foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, was widely tipped to be named EU foreign policy chief when the EU's 28 government heads met in Brussels on Wednesday, but the leaders postponed the decision until August.

Renzi irked as Mogherini waits to learn EU fate
Matteo Renzi answers journalists' question on July 17th 2014 after a special meeting of the European Council. Photo: John Thys/AFP

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who had lobbied hard on his foreign minister's behalf, expressed annoyance that the European Council summit had failed to settle on a candidate to replace Catherine Ashton.

“For the role of High Representative for foreign policy, there is no candidate other than the one from Italy," he was quoted as saying by La Repubblica.  

"We came here for an agreement that didn’t happen; it only needed a text message,” adding that there are “no vetoes” to block Mogherini from taking the role.

“The view is shared by all that there are no other candidates other than the one from Italy. I haven’t seen any opposition to Mogherini.”

"Today's meeting could have been much more effective if it had been better prepared."

"But…it was a good opportunity to see everyone and wish Angela Merkel happy birthday"

La Repubblica struck a papal note with its headline, which read: "EU appointment, black smoke at the summit". 

The newspaper said French President Francois Hollande "fully supports the Italian candidate". It added that "even Merkel" backed the Italian, albeit less explicitly. 

Business daily Il Sole 24 Ore ran with the headline, "Europe split on appointments: still a stalemate over Mogherini for foreign post".

News agency Ansa kept it short and pointed: "Nothing done, summit postponed". 

Corriere della Sera published a cartoon of European Parliament President Martin Schulz endorsing the Italian with the faintest of praise: 

"I think Mogherini is well placed. For Europe's foreign politics inexperience is an advantage."

Outgoing European Council President Herman van Rompuy said the leaders would settle on a full package of appointments when they next convene on August 30th. 

We live-blogged the summit on Wednesday. Here's a look back at a dramatic day in world politics that ended with the EU and the US both tightening sanctions against Russia.

Scroll to the bottom to see how it all began.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Mogherini ranked among world’s most powerful women

Italy’s former Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini is among the world’s most powerful women, according to a ranking compiled by the magazine, Forbes.

Mogherini ranked among world's most powerful women
Italy's Federica Mogherini was ranked 19th in the Forbes "most powerful women list" of 2016. Photo: AFP

Mogherini, who became the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs in 2014 against an onslaught of criticism, came 19th among the 100 “most powerful women in the world” ranked by the magazine, 17 places higher than in 2015.

Mogherini, who works on behalf of 500 million EU citizens, was credited for her role in helping to broker a historic missile agreement between Iran and six world superpowers in July 2014.

The mother of two, who turns 42 on June 16th, has also represented the EU on issues ranging from the Ukrainian crisis, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the influx of migrants to Europe.

Mogherini, the daughter of film director Flavio Mogherini, stepped into the role in November 2014 after being appointed by the EU’s 28 nation bloc, a decision that was tainted with criticism not only for her lack of experience but also because of her decision to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on her first overseas visit as Italy’s foreign minister earlier in the same year.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel ranked number one in the Forbes list, followed by Hillary Clinton; Janet Yellen, chair of the US Federal Reserve; Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors.