Divergent views over Van Rompuy and Ashton seem largely negative in Italy

Since his appoint­ment as the new Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil in Novem­ber 2009, Her­man Van Rompuy has inspired scep­ti­cal com­ments and pes­simistic analy­ses, both at the polit­i­cal lev­el as well as in the Ital­ian media cov­er­age. Indeed only few voic­es, although high­ly respect­ed, have appeared to reject this gen­er­al neg­a­tive opin­ion.

The Ital­ian polit­i­cal lead­ers expressed com­mon frus­tra­tion on the appoint­ment of Van Rompuy. Pier­lui­gi Bersani, leader of the main oppo­si­tion par­ty, has spo­ken of a “low pro­file” per­son­al­i­ty, which sym­bol­is­es a bad start for the EU after the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Lis­bon Treaty.11Quotidiano.net: UE, Van Rompuy pres­i­dente per­ma­nente, Esteri alla Ash­ton, D’Alema scon­fit­to, 19 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://quotidianonet.ilsole24ore.com/esteri/2009/11/19/262298-rompuy_presidente_permanente.shtml (last access: 15 April 2010). More pru­dent in his state­ment has been the Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlus­coni, who described the deci­sion as “the only pos­si­ble com­pro­mise.”22La Repub­bli­ca: UE, Berlus­coni sul­la boc­ciatu­ra di D’Alema “Nomi scelti uni­co accor­do pos­si­bile”, 21 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.repubblica.it/2009/10/sezioni/esteri/ue-unione-europea/frattini-deluso-da-bocciatura/frattini-deluso-da-bocciatura.html (last access: 15 April 2010).

More­over, a deep scep­ti­cism over the polit­i­cal fig­ure of Van Rompuy also char­ac­teris­es the com­ments in the Ital­ian press and research com­mu­ni­ty. The ‘opaque Flem­ish leader’ has often been judged as a min­i­mal­ist choice, lack­ing the strong per­son­al author­i­ty which is deemed nec­es­sary to effec­tive­ly oper­ate in a frag­ment­ed and con­fused EU.33Enri­co Briv­io: Un leader haiku per l’Europa, Il Sole24Ore, 20 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/SoleOnLine4/dossier/Italia/2009/commenti-sole-24-ore/20-novembre-2009/haiku-leader-europa.shtml (last access: 14 April 2010). Van Rompuy’s nom­i­na­tion seemed, there­fore, to sug­gest a lack of polit­i­cal ambi­tion, the loss of a tru­ly pro-Euro­pean sen­ti­ment among nation­al lead­ers, and the demise of any aspi­ra­tion of glob­al lead­er­ship by the EU.44Gian­ni Riot­ta: Perche Van Rompuy non sarà Churchill, il Sole24Ore, 24 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/SoleOnLine4/dossier/Italia/2009/commenti-sole-24-ore/24-novembre-2009/van-rompuy-churchill.shtml (last access: 14 April 2009); Ser­gio Romano: La UE non è solo bas­so pro­fi­lo, Panora­ma, 30 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://blog.panorama.it/opinioni/2009/11/30/romano-la-ue-non-e-solo-basso-profilo/ (last access: 14 April 2010).

Despite this gen­er­al­ly neg­a­tive atti­tude, Mario Mon­ti, for­mer mem­ber of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, judged the appoint­ment of Van Rompuy in a rather opti­mistic way. In par­tic­u­lar, Mon­ti believes Pres­i­dent Van Rompuy to be the right man to fur­ther the con­struc­tion of the Euro­pean project, and to cre­ate polit­i­cal con­sen­sus and medi­ate between diver­gent nation­al inter­ests.55Mario Mon­ti: Un pres­i­dente per il con­sen­so, Cor­riere del­la Sera, 22 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.corriere.it/editoriali/09_novembre_22/monti-consenso-presidente-ue_cd896412-d73e-11de-a7cd-00144f02aabc.shtml (last access: 15 April 2010). As anoth­er respect­ed com­men­ta­tor wrote, “the rel­a­tive­ly low pro­file of Van Rompuy fits per­fect­ly well with the word­ing of the Lis­bon Treaty”,66Ric­car­do Peris­sich: EU Pres­i­dent and High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive: habe­mus papam, ISPI Com­men­tary, 20 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ispionline.it/it/documents/Commentary_Perissich_20%20nov%202009.pdf (last access: 15 April 2010). since the very lim­it­ed role attrib­uted to the Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil focus­es main­ly on the cre­ation of polit­i­cal syn­the­sis and insti­tu­tion­al con­ti­nu­ity.77Pietro Manzi­ni: Un bas­so pro­fi­lo utile all’Europa, La Voce, 24 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.lavoce.info/articoli/pagina1001409.html (last access: 15 April 2010).

Recent events seemed to mir­ror this diver­gence of views over Pres­i­dent Van Rompuy. If, on the one hand, his speech at the Col­lege of Europe in Bruges (Bel­gium) received pos­i­tive com­ments in the Ital­ian press,88Enri­co Briv­io: Van Rompuy al Col­le­gio d’Europa. Un topoli­no che sa rug­gire, Il Sole24Ore, 5 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/SoleOnLine4/dossier/Italia/2009/commenti-sole-24-ore/5‑marzo-2010/ue-presidenza-belgio-vanrompuy-discorso-collegio.shtml?uuid=0c551be0-2826–11df-800d-74241d6b774c&DocRulesView=Libero (last access: 15 April 2010). his lead­er­ship has been con­sid­ered, on the oth­er hand, uncon­vinc­ing in response to the cur­rent Greek eco­nom­ic cri­sis.99Il Foglio: Tre pres­i­den­ti un euro, 11 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://rassegnastampa.mef.gov.it/mefnazionale/View.aspx?ID=2010021114927331–1 (last access: 15 April 2010).

How­ev­er, the main prob­lem behind these eval­u­a­tions seems to remain the new insti­tu­tion­al frame­work intro­duced by the Lis­bon Treaty, which, by main­tain­ing the rotat­ing pres­i­den­cy sys­tem along­side the new Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil, risks to cre­ate a paral­ysed EU in the exer­cise of its pow­ers.1010Ste­fano Sil­vestri: L’Europa del­la quadri­ga, Affar­In­ter­nazion­ali, 26 Octo­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.affarinternazionali.it/articolo.asp?ID=1284 (last access: 16 April 2010).

In Italy, the reac­tions to the appoint­ment of Cather­ine Ash­ton as the new High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Union for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy have been main­ly neg­a­tive. Indeed, the news that the Ital­ian can­di­date, Mas­si­mo D’Alema from the Social­ist Par­ty and backed by the gov­ern­ment for the posi­tion of High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, was defeat­ed aroused pes­simistic and frus­trat­ed com­ments. Romano Pro­di, for­mer Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and for­mer Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter, con­fessed to be shocked by the choice of Ash­ton, a deci­sion he qual­i­fied as ‘mind-blow­ing’.1111Il Sole24Ore: Lo stu­pore di Pro­di: “Ash­ton? Ma chi è?”, 19 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/SoleOnLine4/Mondo/2009/11/ashton-commento-prodi.shtml?uuid=1f128ce4-d53e-11de-b4c7-32ad3f2d513a (last access: 19 April 2010). Giu­liano Ama­to, a respect­ed Ital­ian polit­i­cal fig­ure, sug­gest­ed that a log­ic of com­pen­sa­tion and self-serv­ing nation­al inter­ests had pre­vailed, which would neg­a­tive­ly influ­ence the future of the Euro­pean project.1212La Repub­bli­ca: Mr. Pesc, dura la stam­pa euro­pea. “Una scelta di bas­so pro­fi­lo”, 20 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.repubblica.it/2009/10/sezioni/esteri/ue-unione-europea/dalema-dayafter/dalema-dayafter.html (last access: 19 April 2010).

Unques­tion­ably, the first months as High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive have rep­re­sent­ed a trou­ble­some peri­od for Ash­ton. Prob­a­bly due to the vast range of her duties, her per­for­mance has been wide­ly crit­i­cised in the Ital­ian pub­lic debate – in ref­er­ence to, for exam­ple, her absence from Haiti after the earth­quake, or her com­ment regard­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a com­mon EU seat at the UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil.1313Andrea Bonan­ni: Ma che fa la min­is­tra degli esteri Ue?, La Repub­bli­ca – Blog, 16 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://bonanni.blogautore.repubblica.it/2010/02/16/ma-che-fa-la-ministra-degli-esteri-ue/ (last access: 19 April 2010); Cor­riere del­la Sera: Lady Europa sul­la grati­co­la. “Il seg­gio all’ONU? Non lo so”, 12 Jan­u­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://rassegnastampa.mef.gov.it/mefeconomica/View.aspx?ID=2010011214660804–2 (last access: 19 April 2010). How­ev­er, on a dif­fer­ent note rests Fran­co Frat­ti­ni, cur­rent Ital­ian For­eign Min­is­ter and for­mer Euro­pean Com­mis­sion­er, who expressed on sev­er­al occa­sions his sup­port and appre­ci­a­tion for Ash­ton.1414Fran­co Frat­ti­ni: Yemen: Con­vin­to apprez­za­men­to del Min­istro Frat­ti­ni per l’azione dell’Alto Rap­p­re­sen­tante UE, Cather­ine Ash­ton, Min­is­tero degli Affari Esteri, 5 Jan­u­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.esteri.it/MAE/IT/Sala_Stampa/ArchivioNotizie/Comunicati/2010/01/20100105_ConvintoApprezzamentoFrattini_Ashton (last access: 19 April 2010); ANSA: Ue: Frat­ti­ni, Italia sostiene Ash­ton, 5 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/topnews/2010/03/05/visualizza_new.html_1730283597.html (last access: 19 April 2010).

Although the gen­er­al view of Ash­ton remains scep­ti­cal, the post of High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in its “dou­ble-hat” design appears to present some insti­tu­tion­al dif­fi­cul­ties in itself. Indeed, the effort to cre­ate a “sin­gle voice” for EU exter­nal rela­tions and a bet­ter coor­di­na­tion of poli­cies rang­ing from devel­op­ment aid to com­merce gives Ash­ton an almost unman­age­able amount of respon­si­bil­i­ties, and makes it often hard to address them suc­cess­ful­ly. As sug­gest­ed, the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive faces an “hero­ic mis­sion”,1515Raf­fael­lo Mataraz­zo: L’eroica mis­sione del nuo­vo min­istro degli esteri dell’Ue, Affar­In­ter­nazion­ali, 20 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.affarinternazionali.it/articolo.asp?ID=1319 (last access: 19 April 2010). with the ambi­tious aim to achieve a polit­i­cal cohe­sion with­in a still frag­ment­ed Euro­pean for­eign and secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy. More­over, a new insti­tu­tion­al bal­ance needs to be reached. That both Ash­ton and the Pres­i­dent of the Com­mis­sion José Manuel Bar­roso sent a mes­sage of con­do­lence after the earth­quake in Chile of Feb­ru­ary 2010 with­out pre­vi­ous­ly con­sult­ing each oth­er seems to rep­re­sent, in a harm­less way, the dif­fi­cul­ties faced by the EU dur­ing the process of cre­at­ing a coher­ent and coor­di­nat­ed voice.1616Affar­i­tal­iani: Allarme Ue, Mr. Pesc Ash­ton è inqui­etante, 6 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.affaritaliani.it/politica/allarme_ue_pesc_ashton020310.html (last access: 19 April 2010).

Dur­ing the last months, the Ital­ian debate on the estab­lish­ment of a Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice (EEAS) has been rather mea­gre. Prob­a­bly due to the tech­ni­cal nature of this top­ic, the Ital­ian press and media have only briefly cov­ered its insti­tu­tion­al progress, pri­mar­i­ly high­light­ing the polit­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties inher­ent to the attain­ment of a shared EU posi­tion, which the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ash­ton has to ulti­mate­ly facil­i­tate.1717Il Riformista: Ash­ton lan­cia la ‘mis­sion impos­si­ble’, 26 March 2010, avail­able at: http://stampanazionale.esteri.it/PDF/2010/2010–03-26/2010032615308762.pdf (last access: 19 April 2010).

On the polit­i­cal side, the Ital­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Frat­ti­ni con­tin­ues to reaf­firm his sup­port for Ash­ton and the cre­ation of the EEAS, con­sid­ered the main tool for a new Euro­pean glob­al iden­ti­ty.1818Fran­co Frat­ti­ni: Dichiarazione dei Min­istri Frat­ti­ni e Kouch­n­er, Lel­louche e Ronchi sul­la real­iz­zazione del SEAE, Min­is­tero degli Affari Esteri, 9 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.esteri.it/MAE/IT/Sala_Stampa/ArchivioNotizie/Comunicati/2010/04/20100409_Frattini_Kouchner.htm?LANG=IT (last access: 19 April 2010).

Nev­er­the­less, what emerged with­in the Ital­ian research com­mu­ni­ty is a sit­u­a­tion in which domes­tic inter­ests com­pete with each oth­er for those posi­tions and resources which the new diplo­mat­ic body will intro­duce. As Ser­gio Romano, a well-known polit­i­cal ana­lyst, wrote, only when the recruit­ment of the Euro­pean diplo­mat­ic per­son­nel will be open and pub­lic could we over­come the present frag­ment­ed and self-serv­ing sit­u­a­tion.1919Ser­gio Romano: Il servizio diplo­mati­co, Cor­riere del­la Sera, 29 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.corriere.it/romano/10–03-29/02.spm (last access: 19 April 2010). More­over, with­out a clear def­i­n­i­tion of its duties, the EEAS is like­ly to fur­ther an inco­her­ent sys­tem of rep­re­sen­ta­tion, which is ulti­mate­ly sub­dued by nation­al inter­ests.2020Il Foglio: Lady Ash­ton è già chiusa nel­la gab­bia del servizio diplo­mati­co europeo, 2 April 2010, avail­able at: http://rassegnastampa.mef.gov.it/mefeconomica/View.aspx?ID=2010040215365115–1 (last access: 19 April 2010).

The con­cept of an EU diplo­mat­ic ser­vice, in its ratio­nale and intend­ed aims, is large­ly per­ceived in a favourable way. How­ev­er, it is still unclear if the pro­pos­al pushed for­ward by Ash­ton on 25 March 2010 and par­tial­ly mod­i­fied on 26 April 2010 will be approved by all the Euro­pean insti­tu­tions involved, and will thus be able to avoid the risk of an inter­nal com­pe­ti­tion, enhanc­ing the effi­ca­cy of the EU exter­nal action.2121Raf­fael­lo Mataraz­zo: Brac­cio di fer­ro sul servizio diplo­mati­co europeo, Affar­In­ter­nazion­ali, 26 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.affarinternazionali.it/articolo.asp?ID=1424 (last access: 19 April 2010).

In Italy, the debate on the Euro­pean Cit­i­zens’ Ini­tia­tive (ECI) has reg­is­tered lit­tle atten­tion from either the press or civ­il soci­ety, remain­ing large­ly con­fined to the nation­al polit­i­cal insti­tu­tions. In par­tic­u­lar, the com­mit­tees of both the Sen­ate (the upper cham­ber of the Ital­ian par­lia­ment) and the Cam­era dei Dep­u­tati (the low­er cham­ber) have analysed the issue exten­sive­ly and with wide­spread inter­est.

The result is a series of rec­om­men­da­tions, fair­ly tech­ni­cal and selec­tive, on the ECI pro­ce­dures and rules sug­gest­ed by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in its pro­pos­al. A strong posi­tion is tak­en by Ital­ian rep­re­sen­ta­tives, for exam­ple, regard­ing the ques­tion of how many mem­ber states need to be rep­re­sent­ed in a giv­en ECI in order for it to be accept­ed. Although the Com­mis­sion pro­pos­al set the lim­it to 1/3 of the mem­ber states, Ital­ian Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPs) repeat­ed­ly expressed their pref­er­ence for a 1/4 thresh­old, in line with the posi­tion of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.2222Com­mis­sione Affari Cos­ti­tuzion­ali: Alle­ga­to – Schema di risoluzione pro­pos­to dal­la rela­trice sull’atto comu­ni­tario n.61, Sen­a­to del­la Repub­bli­ca, 16 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.senato.it/japp/bgt/showdoc/frame.jsp?tipodoc=SommComm&leg=16&id=469321 (last access: 20 April 2010). More­over, the four-month peri­od in which the Com­mis­sion should exam­ine the ini­tia­tive is deemed too short, and a one-year peri­od is instead sug­gest­ed.2323Ibid.

Over­all, how­ev­er, the cre­ation of a sys­tem for ECI is eval­u­at­ed main­ly in a pos­i­tive way. As Andrea Ronchi, the Ital­ian Min­is­ter for Euro­pean Affairs, has remarked, the ECI is one of the most impor­tant pro­vi­sions includ­ed in the Lis­bon Treaty, and even though it has been rather over­looked until now, Italy should ded­i­cate con­sid­er­able atten­tion to its insti­tu­tion­al def­i­n­i­tion.2424Audizione par­la­mentare, Audizione del min­istro per le politiche europee Andrea Ronchi, Cam­era dei Dep­u­tati, 17 March 2010, avail­able at: http://nuovo.camera.it/470?shadow_organo_parlamentare=1507&stenog=/_dati/leg16/lavori/stencomm/0314/audiz2/2010/0317&pagina=s010 (last access: 20 April 2010).

    Footnotes

  • 1Quotidiano.net: UE, Van Rompuy pres­i­dente per­ma­nente, Esteri alla Ash­ton, D’Alema scon­fit­to, 19 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://quotidianonet.ilsole24ore.com/esteri/2009/11/19/262298-rompuy_presidente_permanente.shtml (last access: 15 April 2010).
  • 2La Repub­bli­ca: UE, Berlus­coni sul­la boc­ciatu­ra di D’Alema “Nomi scelti uni­co accor­do pos­si­bile”, 21 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.repubblica.it/2009/10/sezioni/esteri/ue-unione-europea/frattini-deluso-da-bocciatura/frattini-deluso-da-bocciatura.html (last access: 15 April 2010).
  • 3Enri­co Briv­io: Un leader haiku per l’Europa, Il Sole24Ore, 20 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/SoleOnLine4/dossier/Italia/2009/commenti-sole-24-ore/20-novembre-2009/haiku-leader-europa.shtml (last access: 14 April 2010).
  • 4Gian­ni Riot­ta: Perche Van Rompuy non sarà Churchill, il Sole24Ore, 24 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/SoleOnLine4/dossier/Italia/2009/commenti-sole-24-ore/24-novembre-2009/van-rompuy-churchill.shtml (last access: 14 April 2009); Ser­gio Romano: La UE non è solo bas­so pro­fi­lo, Panora­ma, 30 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://blog.panorama.it/opinioni/2009/11/30/romano-la-ue-non-e-solo-basso-profilo/ (last access: 14 April 2010).
  • 5Mario Mon­ti: Un pres­i­dente per il con­sen­so, Cor­riere del­la Sera, 22 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.corriere.it/editoriali/09_novembre_22/monti-consenso-presidente-ue_cd896412-d73e-11de-a7cd-00144f02aabc.shtml (last access: 15 April 2010).
  • 6Ric­car­do Peris­sich: EU Pres­i­dent and High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive: habe­mus papam, ISPI Com­men­tary, 20 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ispionline.it/it/documents/Commentary_Perissich_20%20nov%202009.pdf (last access: 15 April 2010).
  • 7Pietro Manzi­ni: Un bas­so pro­fi­lo utile all’Europa, La Voce, 24 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.lavoce.info/articoli/pagina1001409.html (last access: 15 April 2010).
  • 8Enri­co Briv­io: Van Rompuy al Col­le­gio d’Europa. Un topoli­no che sa rug­gire, Il Sole24Ore, 5 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/SoleOnLine4/dossier/Italia/2009/commenti-sole-24-ore/5‑marzo-2010/ue-presidenza-belgio-vanrompuy-discorso-collegio.shtml?uuid=0c551be0-2826–11df-800d-74241d6b774c&DocRulesView=Libero (last access: 15 April 2010).
  • 9Il Foglio: Tre pres­i­den­ti un euro, 11 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://rassegnastampa.mef.gov.it/mefnazionale/View.aspx?ID=2010021114927331–1 (last access: 15 April 2010).
  • 10Ste­fano Sil­vestri: L’Europa del­la quadri­ga, Affar­In­ter­nazion­ali, 26 Octo­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.affarinternazionali.it/articolo.asp?ID=1284 (last access: 16 April 2010).
  • 11Il Sole24Ore: Lo stu­pore di Pro­di: “Ash­ton? Ma chi è?”, 19 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/SoleOnLine4/Mondo/2009/11/ashton-commento-prodi.shtml?uuid=1f128ce4-d53e-11de-b4c7-32ad3f2d513a (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 12La Repub­bli­ca: Mr. Pesc, dura la stam­pa euro­pea. “Una scelta di bas­so pro­fi­lo”, 20 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.repubblica.it/2009/10/sezioni/esteri/ue-unione-europea/dalema-dayafter/dalema-dayafter.html (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 13Andrea Bonan­ni: Ma che fa la min­is­tra degli esteri Ue?, La Repub­bli­ca – Blog, 16 Feb­ru­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://bonanni.blogautore.repubblica.it/2010/02/16/ma-che-fa-la-ministra-degli-esteri-ue/ (last access: 19 April 2010); Cor­riere del­la Sera: Lady Europa sul­la grati­co­la. “Il seg­gio all’ONU? Non lo so”, 12 Jan­u­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://rassegnastampa.mef.gov.it/mefeconomica/View.aspx?ID=2010011214660804–2 (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 14Fran­co Frat­ti­ni: Yemen: Con­vin­to apprez­za­men­to del Min­istro Frat­ti­ni per l’azione dell’Alto Rap­p­re­sen­tante UE, Cather­ine Ash­ton, Min­is­tero degli Affari Esteri, 5 Jan­u­ary 2010, avail­able at: http://www.esteri.it/MAE/IT/Sala_Stampa/ArchivioNotizie/Comunicati/2010/01/20100105_ConvintoApprezzamentoFrattini_Ashton (last access: 19 April 2010); ANSA: Ue: Frat­ti­ni, Italia sostiene Ash­ton, 5 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/topnews/2010/03/05/visualizza_new.html_1730283597.html (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 15Raf­fael­lo Mataraz­zo: L’eroica mis­sione del nuo­vo min­istro degli esteri dell’Ue, Affar­In­ter­nazion­ali, 20 Novem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.affarinternazionali.it/articolo.asp?ID=1319 (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 16Affar­i­tal­iani: Allarme Ue, Mr. Pesc Ash­ton è inqui­etante, 6 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.affaritaliani.it/politica/allarme_ue_pesc_ashton020310.html (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 17Il Riformista: Ash­ton lan­cia la ‘mis­sion impos­si­ble’, 26 March 2010, avail­able at: http://stampanazionale.esteri.it/PDF/2010/2010–03-26/2010032615308762.pdf (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 18Fran­co Frat­ti­ni: Dichiarazione dei Min­istri Frat­ti­ni e Kouch­n­er, Lel­louche e Ronchi sul­la real­iz­zazione del SEAE, Min­is­tero degli Affari Esteri, 9 April 2010, avail­able at: http://www.esteri.it/MAE/IT/Sala_Stampa/ArchivioNotizie/Comunicati/2010/04/20100409_Frattini_Kouchner.htm?LANG=IT (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 19Ser­gio Romano: Il servizio diplo­mati­co, Cor­riere del­la Sera, 29 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.corriere.it/romano/10–03-29/02.spm (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 20Il Foglio: Lady Ash­ton è già chiusa nel­la gab­bia del servizio diplo­mati­co europeo, 2 April 2010, avail­able at: http://rassegnastampa.mef.gov.it/mefeconomica/View.aspx?ID=2010040215365115–1 (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 21Raf­fael­lo Mataraz­zo: Brac­cio di fer­ro sul servizio diplo­mati­co europeo, Affar­In­ter­nazion­ali, 26 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.affarinternazionali.it/articolo.asp?ID=1424 (last access: 19 April 2010).
  • 22Com­mis­sione Affari Cos­ti­tuzion­ali: Alle­ga­to – Schema di risoluzione pro­pos­to dal­la rela­trice sull’atto comu­ni­tario n.61, Sen­a­to del­la Repub­bli­ca, 16 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.senato.it/japp/bgt/showdoc/frame.jsp?tipodoc=SommComm&leg=16&id=469321 (last access: 20 April 2010).
  • 23Ibid.
  • 24Audizione par­la­mentare, Audizione del min­istro per le politiche europee Andrea Ronchi, Cam­era dei Dep­u­tati, 17 March 2010, avail­able at: http://nuovo.camera.it/470?shadow_organo_parlamentare=1507&stenog=/_dati/leg16/lavori/stencomm/0314/audiz2/2010/0317&pagina=s010 (last access: 20 April 2010).

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained there­in.