July 15. 2024. 7:28

The Daily

Read the World Today

Meloni hesitant about Kallas’ nomination for EU diplomacy head

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas is a leading candidate for the EU high representative for foreign affairs role, but sources from Fratelli d’Italia in Brussels told Euractiv Italy that the role would give her too much influence compared to the new balances in the EU House.

Until a few days ago, before an informal dinner of EU leaders in Brussels, it seemed almost certain that centre-right EPP’s Ursula von der Leyen, EU Socialists’ Antonio Costa, and liberal Renew’s Kaja Kallas would get the top jobs in Brussels.

But while Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, leader of the conservative ECR group and Italy’s far-right Fratelli d’Italia party, is said to have opposed the proposed set of appointments because of the lack of wider consultation, Fratelli d’Italia sources in Brussels suggest that Meloni may be particularly sceptical about Kallas’ appointment as EU foreign policy chief.

“Kallas is a respected figure, and there are no personal objections to her nomination from the Italian side,” the sources told Euractiv Italy.

However, the main problem, according to them, is the political representation.

“Renew Europe has recently suffered an electoral defeat and will soon lose its position as the third-largest group in the Parliament” and the weight the role of high representative would give it “is disproportionately high”, they added.

Soon after these statements, the ECR announced that it was joined by new members, such the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR), and therefore became the third largest power in the EU Parliament, overtaking EU liberals.

Bazaar for a big post?

Analysts point out that Meloni may be sceptical of Kallas’s appointment for another reason.

She may be reluctant to delegate foreign policy responsibilities to the Baltic states, fearing that their focus would be too east-centric and potentially sideline Mediterranean issues and migration concerns.

Similar concerns about a “monothematic” approach in EU foreign affairs were also expressed by some EPP leaders at a pre-summit gathering in Brussels on Monday, Euractiv learned.

“It is plausible” that Meloni has this view and “might say give me this or I will raise an issue about Kallas’s candidacy and find allies,” explains Lorenzo Castellani, a political analyst at LUISS Guido Carli University, echoing rumours in Brussels suggesting that Meloni eyes a big portfolio in the next EU executive.

Meloni will not oppose a foreign minister with a pro-Ukrainian and Euro-Atlantic orientation, “but perhaps Kallas is a candidate who represents very Baltic, Polish, and Ukrainian interests, while Meloni, supported by von der Leyen, focuses more on the Mediterranean”.

Meloni could either oppose the candidacy or use it for a negotiation that “could also involve other more left-leaning governments like Spanish PM Sanchez’s, who would prefer someone capable of being pro-NATO and pro-Ukraine but more focused on the Mediterranean”.

(Alessia Peretti | Euractiv.it)

Read more with Euractiv

Conservative ECR now third group in EU Parliament, but Fidesz drops out

Conservative ECR now third group in EU Parliament, but Fidesz drops out

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) said on Wednesday (19 June) they had become the third-biggest political group in the European Parliament, thanks to newcomers, potentially entitling them to take part in negotiating the EU’s top jobs.

Subscribe now to our newsletter EU Elections Decoded