Most Italians oppose former minister as EU Gulf envoy pick

Most Italians oppose former minister as EU Gulf envoy pick |

Former Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio could be the EU’s next special Gulf envoy, but most Italians believe he is not the right man for the job.

Di Maio was named the best candidate for the EU’s Special Gulf Envoy by an independent technical panel mandated by the EU.

Based on his performance, Di Maio is the best among the four candidates in the running, a document sent by the panel to the offices of EU High Representative Josep Borrell states, Ansa reported. Candidates included Cypriot Markos Kyprianou; former UN envoy to Libya, Slovakian Jan Kubis; and former Greek Foreign Minister and EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The recommendation is the outcome of interviews conducted by the panel with the individual candidates, but the official nomination will be up to Borrell, who may disagree with the experts’ conclusions.

Decisive could be the intervention in support of Di Maio by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (Brothers of Italy / ECR) or current Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Tajani (Forza Italia/PPE), who both belong to parties usually in sharp contrast with Di Maio and his political leanings.

Di Maio was, until a few months ago, leader of the Five Stars Movement (M5S), now replaced by former prime minister Giuseppe Conte when M5S was in government with Matteo Salvini’s League (ID).

In 2019, the government fell, but the M5S formed an alliance with the opposite political area, the Democratic Party (S&D), to remain in power until 2021, when the government led by Mario Draghi took office.

In both governments, first with the right and then with the left, Di Maio obtained leading positions, but before this dazzling political career, he had limited work and political experience.

Also, a few weeks before the last general election in September, Luigi Di Maio founded his own political party, ‘Civic Commitment’, which only obtained 0.6%, resulting in his disappearance from the political arena.

The selection process for the European special envoy to the Persian Gulf “is ongoing, and, once it is completed, we will announce the appointment,” said European External Action Service spokesman Peter Stano.

(Federica Pascale |


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