Italy names Paolo Gentiloni new foreign minister

Paolo Gentiloni (R). Italy, 2005. [ Lapo Pistelli/Flickr]


Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Friday named Paolo Gentiloni, a former communications minister, to be his new foreign minister after Federica Mogherini stepped down this week to become the European Union’s new top diplomat, sources said.

Two political sources with knowledge of the matter said the Renzi had picked the 59-year-old Gentiloni, who served as communications minister in Romano Prodi’s government from 2006 to 2008, for the job.

Gentiloni’s nomination comes as a surprise, because he had not been mentioned as a potential candidate in recent weeks. Renzi had wanted to replace Mogherini with another woman, sources had said.

Italian media describe the journalist as one of Renzi’s closest associates. Gentiloni was first elected to parliament in 2001.