Rome, Sep 5 (IANS/AKI) Former Italian Centre-Left Premier Paolo Gentiloni on Thursday thanked Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for his nomination as European Union commissioner and vowed to "contribute to a new, positive chapter for Italy and Europe" in the role.
"I thank Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for this assignment. The responsibility is an honour. I will give it my all and work to contribute to a new, positive chapter for Italy and Europe," Gentiloni said in a statement.
Gentiloni is a prime contender for the Economic Commissioner portfolio, AKI learned from parliamentary sources.
Italy was the last country in the 28-member bloc to nominate a commissioner in the new EU executive, which is due to take office in November. The UK declined to do so as it plans to leave the bloc.
AKI understands that Italy put forward Gentiloni' name to incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen late on Wednesday.
Gentiloni, from the Democratic Party (PD) was Prime Minister from 2016 to 2018, and his appointment is widely seen as a move to guarantee smooth ties with Brussels after months of high tensions during the previous, euro-sceptic coalition government between the grassroots 5-Star Movement and the far-right League party.
The 5-Star-League government, which was also led by Conte, collapsed last month when the League pulled out, hoping to trigger and win a snap election. The League's gamble went awry when Conte this week formed a new majority government with 5-Star and the centre-left.
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