Year in Review : Federica Mogherini´s Appointment as EU High Representative

Written by | Monday, March 9th, 2015

Maria Giulia and Amadio Viceré (LSE European Politics and Policy Blog)

The appointment of Federica Mogherini as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, along with the changes in EU foreign policy implemented by the Lisbon Treaty, could signify a substantial shift of thinking about the Italian as well as the EU foreign policy. This turning point has its roots in an improved international self-presentation of the Italian personalities and their stronger articulation of the Union’s interests. Moreover, it is also necessary to bear in mind that Federica Mogherini has been concurrently appointed as Vice-President of the European Commission. On the other hand, it is also true that Mogherini’s predecessor, Baroness Catherine Ashton, who was the first ever High Representative, was often criticized for not living up to the expectations of the newly created institution.

Ever since the first announcement of the proposition to appoint Federica Mogherini, the same critique that had been aimed at Catherine Ashton was suddenly directed at the new candidate. Above all, it is true that Mogherini is not very experienced in international politics. However, this could prove to be an advantage, given the perceptions about her position. On the one hand, she does not have much to lose, while on the other hand, she can gain a lot. And if the new High Representative shows a strong ambition, aptitude and power, her appointment could prove as a significant turning point in EU foreign policy.

Nonetheless, this will demand quick and precise decision-making, which – according to the words of the new President of the European Commission – will have to be in coherence both with the European Commissioners for Trade, and Development and Humanitarian Aid, and with the conception of the neighborhood and enlargement policies. In addition, Juncker himself has announced that he would like to be more involved in the EU foreign policy making. In the end, the events of 2014 have taught us that it is unwise to underestimate young and ambitious leaders who have nothing to lose but much to gain.

(The study can be downloaded here)

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