What will Di Maio do in his new role as EU special envoy for the Gulf?

Once the position has been created, it will now be necessary to give it specific tasks, a reason for existing.

The EU special envoy for the Persian Gulf had never existed, it was following the energy crisis and the increased political importance of once more marginal countries, such as the Emirates and Qatar, that Brussels decided to establish this new post .

Traditionally, European special envoys in specific areas of the world have never had great luck, that is, they have never been able to concretely influence the policies of European countries. This is the case of the envoys for Libya, the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, and so on…

After all, even their boss, now Joseph Borrel, i.e. the High Representative for European Foreign Policy, who chooses and appoints them, does not seem to have much room for action, if not precisely those of appointing his special collaborators.

But wanting to grow and become more effective, the EU multiplies its roles of representation to become ever more similar to a national government.

The new Special Representative for the Persian Gulf, therefore, will have to understand what kind of work he will have to carry out and what his margins of action will be. In theory, Europe has enormous political and economic interests in the Gulf. That’s where she goes to look for the gas she lacks from Russia. It is with the countries of the western shore of the Gulf that it seeks to strengthen its political and military alliances in the Middle East, a land of contention between the great powers. It is always collaborating with the Emirates, Oman and the part Qatar that opposes the Iranian policy and threat.

Now we will see if an envoy employed by the European Commission will be sufficiently efficient and listened to. Much will depend on the ability of the chosen person, that is Luigi Di Maio, and on the willingness of European countries to delegate their international interests to an envoy from Brussels (for now very little!).

One thing is certain. Di Maio was proposed by former Prime Minister Draghi and chosen from a shortlist of candidates from various nations from a

group of independent consultants. This influenced Borrel’s decision to nominate him. However, this could have been different if there had been more collaboration and harmony between the Italian government and the European Commission in recent months. The cold or indignant reactions of the Italian majority politicians show how, paradoxically, the appointment of a compatriot to an important European office is seen more as a slight to our government than as recognition of Italy’s important role.