It has been less than a year since complex political wrangling over Italy’s finances resulted in the formation of a new Italian government, led by Enrico Letta. But with confidence in Letta’s premiership waning he resigned earlier this month, sparking a vote among members of the ruling centre-left Democratic Party that saw Matteo Renzi elected leader. Renzi’s first act as prime minister was to nominate a Cabinet, whose composition marks a first in the country’s history: Women make up half of it, including the one at the helm of the ministry in charge of Italian development cooperation. Who is Federica Mogherini and how will she impact Italian aid policy?
The 40-year-old Mogherini isn’t the first woman to take charge of the foreign ministry. Her immediate predecessor was. Emma Bonino’s tenure, short as it was, nonetheless saw a major milestone on efforts to reform Italian development cooperation.
On Jan. 24, following a long and in-depth debate, the Italian Council of Ministers approved the bill revamping Law 49 of 1987. Introduced by Lapo Pistelli, the vice minister in charge of international cooperation, the reform is designed to bring Italy’s foreign aid practice in line with that employed by other European donors, through the creation of a dedicated agency.
Mogherini was among those who firmly defended and supported the bill, as coordinator of the interparliamentary group for development cooperation that brings together members of more than 70 legislative groups and political parties.
“We can’t lose this chance [to have it approved], we have been working on it [for] 20 years, now we managed to have a draft, and by all means we can’t waste this chance, because there won’t be another one,” she said during a meeting on the reform in January.
The new Italian foreign minister’s stance is not surprising. She has been active in the field of international cooperation since the 1990s, being engaged in national and European campaigns against racism and xenophobia, regularly attending gatherings on cooperation and having strong links with Italian NGOs. She previously represented Italy at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. (fonte Devex)