Matteo Renzi has finally taken his decision, and on July 31 at about 11pm sent this letter for the European Commission elected President: “Dear President, Cher Jean-Claude, I wish to inform you that the Italian Government has decided to propose the Member of the Parliament, Federica Mogherini, current Minister of Foreign Affairs, as candidate for the High Representative office and Vice President of the European Commission.”
Respecting the terms indicated by the President of the European Council, Italy has hence put forward its candidacy for the Commission, appointing a woman – and this has been quite rare in this turn of nominations: only three candidates out of seventeen are women, and the target is having at least ten out of twenty-eight. The possibility is to have the entire Commission rejected by the Parliament, which required the “gender issue” to be dealt with through the appointment of ten women Commissioners (one more than the current nine).
Strangely, Renzi hasn’t indicated Mogherini as candidate Commissioner: he appointed her for a position on which the final decision is out of Jean-Claude Juncker’s hands. According to the Lisbon Treaty in fact, Governments will have the final word on this. Still an unclear situation then, in which Renzi appears to be willing to impose a choice which still isn’t shared by at least ten of his colleagues. And it’s not because there’s a race for getting that office – none of the most important Member States wants it – but because notwithstanding the relatively ininfluent position, the former Soviet-bloc States plus Sweden opposed firmly the appointment of Mogherini (and maybe of any Italian candidate) given the position of our Government: too pro-Russian, even though Rome has been attempting to offer another idea in the last few weeks.
It will take along time (and a hard battle) to get an office which guarantees high visibility but that is not exactly the best choice for having an influent position on European policies.