'Renzi blocked Letta from EU top job'

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Enrico Letta held the premiership from April 2013 until February, when he was ousted by Matteo Renzi. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
12:47 CEST+02:00
Former premier Enrico Letta had a “good chance” of becoming the new EU Council president, but Prime Minister Matteo Renzi chose not to nominate him, a German MEP has said.

Despite being a strong candidate to take over from Herman Van Rompuy later this year, Letta was reportedly left out of the debate entirely.

“Everyone knew for weeks that Letta could have had a good chance if Renzi had proposed him.

“But Renzi didn’t want to put him forward and and he wasn’t proposed,” MEP Elmar Brok told Ansa.

Letta said in June that he saw his chances of clinching a top EU post as “highly improbable, if not impossible”. With Mario Draghi at the head of the European Central Bank, the former premier said it was unlikely that another Italian would be appointed to lead other EU institutions.

READ MORE: Enrico Letta dispels rumours of EU top job

But Brok said “it was public” knowledge that Letta was popular among European leaders to take the top job.

Letta held the premiership from April 2013 until February, when he was ousted from power by fellow Democratic Party (PD) politician Renzi.

The current Italian prime minister showed little interest in the Council appointment earlier this week, when EU leaders met in Brussels to decide on who would be offered the post. Renzi instead focused his energy on trying to maneuver Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini into the post of EU foreign policy chief.

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The prime minister’s efforts however came to little, as leaders failed to agree on who would replace current representative Catherine Ashton later this year.

While reports of Mogherini’s possible candidacy began to circulate weeks ago, she faced growing opposition earlier this week as EU countries banded together to block her from getting the job. Italy’s foreign minister since February, she was criticized for being both inexperienced and too close to Russia.

READ MORE: Critics scramble to block Mogherini from EU job

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