Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi believes German Chancellor Angela Merkel should continue playing a leading role in Europe after the end of her term, either as president of the European Council or as foreign policy chief.
In his new book, "Un'altra strada" (Another Way), the former Italian leader wrote: "It would be desirable that a leading figure such as Angela Merkel, who will be leaving the Chancellery in the coming months after 15 years of uninterrupted leadership, could continue to serve Europe in another capacity."
"Merkel could certainly be a good person to lead foreign policy, but she could also be a good candidate to chair the Council, " he added.
With Merkel on her way out, Renzi also told reporters that French President Emmanuel Macron was the only European national leader "who can still play a role in Europe, despite his difficulties in France."
"Europeans should beg Angela Merkel to be president of the European Council. I don't know if they will," he added.
Merkel's future has been the focus of intense speculation since she announced in October last year that she would not seek re-election as leader of her party and would leave politics at the end of her current term.
Merkel has always deflected questions over her plans for her post-chancellor life.
Will she consider Renzi's suggestion? Speaking to Euronews, a government spokesperson recalled Angela Merkel's statement when she announced her upcoming retirement in October 2018." I just want to put this on record - I will not aim for any further political positions.”