Our Utalk question in this edition comes from Sylvie in Brussels.
She asks: “Federica Mogherini is the new High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. But who is she exactly? And what’s her role?”
Answering this question is Margherita Sforza, euronews’ Brussels correspondent for the Italian service.
“Before being appointed head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini was Italy’s Foreign minister for nine months. She was the third woman to get that job, but at only 41, she was the youngest.
“She was elected as an MP in 2008, and led the Italian delegation at NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly. Her appointment as head of European foreign policy was criticised and questioned by the Baltic states and Poland who thought she was too pro-Russian during the Ukrainian crisis.
“Mogherini defended herself pointing out that her first visit as Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister, during the Italian Presidency of the EU, was first to Kyiv and then to Moscow.
“As she has said, the role of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is to give strategic options to member states and then seek a common European consensus, in order to give the EU greater influence in the world. As an example her predecessor, Britain’s Catherine Ashton, managed to reach a preliminary nuclear agreement with Iran. She also served as a mediator between Kosovo and Serbia.
“As Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini will also have to coordinate the External Action Service of the EU which is a diplomatic corps of 3,400 people with 140 different delegations throughout the world, and with a 2013 budget of € 508 million.”
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