Mogherini is a top graduate of a traditional, closed, business-heavy – and, in many eyes, discredited – Italian foreign policy. She can be expected to talk strongly about issues in which the EU’s influence is weak, and weakly in areas where the EU’s influence is vital, such as Ukraine.
Mogherini is not a representative of some new, invigorated Italian foreign policy. Rather, the 41-year-old has spent her career in the bosom of the left-wing establishment, eventually, just months ago, rising to its head (though Mogherini seemed anxious to stretch those credentials to the limit when she said on Saturday that “it is now, this year, 20 years that I am involved in European and foreign work”).
Mogherini is, in short, a top graduate of a traditional, closed, business-heavy – and, in many eyes, discredited – Italian foreign policy. If she reflects her training, she can be expected to talk strongly about issues in which the EU’s influence is weak, such as the Middle East, and weakly in areas where the EU’s influence is vital, such as Ukraine. Based on her six months as foreign minister, she is keeping with that training: in EU ministerial meetings, she has been among the most passionate of the doves on EU policy towards Russia, and, on a visit to Moscow in July, went further than other EU foreign ministers in expressing dovishness in public.
Two consequences springing from Mogherini’s twin principal features – a lack of ministerial experience and her identification with Italy’s traditionally close ties with Russia – can be confidently predicted. Firstly, the EU’s member states will be very wary about giving her much rein to steer EU foreign policy. Secondly, reluctance to cede much influence to Mogherini – and, therefore, to the European External Action Service (EEAS), the institution that she heads – may encourage Mogherini to pay more attention to a second institution, the European Commission, of which she is now vice-president.
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