Tajani discusses Di Maio’s candidacy. Speaking to Repubblica, Italy’s Foreign Minister remarked on his predecessor – who is running to become the European Union’s Special Envoy to the Persian Gulf. “We do not oppose it,” said FM Tajani when asked if the executive would support his candidacy.
- The comments come amid internal opposition to Mr Di Maio’s candidacy, including within the ranks of the governing majority – despite the clear advantages of having a national filling that role.
- FM Tajani specified his predecessor’s bid is “an individual candidacy,” not the government’s, and recalled it is ultimately Brussels’ call. “I have already told [EU High Representative Josep] Borrell; if he nominates him, the choice is his alone.”
A clean break. Mr Di Maio was not elected to Parliament in September’s election. He was, however, indicated by the technical advisors in Brussels as the best candidate for the job, over the Cypriot Markos Kyprianou, the former UN Envoy to Libya Ján Kubiš, from Slovenia, and former Greek Foreign Minister and EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.
- Italian diplomacy has historically been able to effectively connect with the Middle East, and Mr Di Maio himself, as foreign minister, was part of Mario Draghi’s pivot away from Russian gas – travelling to MENA countries and striking deals to source it locally.