Ruggiero, Renato

(1930– )
   An internationally respected diplomat who has been an important figure in Italian foreign policy since the 1960s, Ruggiero was born in Naplesin April 1930. He took a law degree and then passed into the diplomatic service, working in the Moscow embassy at the height of the “thaw” and in Washington during the Cuban missile crisis. Ruggiero became ambassador to Belgrade in 1966. In 1969, he became part of the permanent Italian mission at the European Community (EC) in Brussels, and in June 1970, when an Italian, Franco Maria Malfatti, was appointed President of the European Commission, Ruggiero became chief of Malfatti’s cabinet. Malfatti did not last long in the job, but Ruggiero played a crucial role in many of the EC’s key decisions in the 1970s. He was involved in the negotiations that led to British entry in the EC (in 1980, he was awarded an honorary baronetcy for his friendship to Britain) and served as director general for regional policy, one of the most important jobs in Brussels. In 1977, he became official spokesman for Roy Jenkins, the president of the European Commission.
   Ruggiero returned to Rome in 1978 and occupied a series of senior roles in Italian diplomacy, including being diplomatic advisor to Giulio Andreotti. Between 1985 and 1987, he reached the peak of the foreign ministry hierarchy, becoming Secretary General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs—in effect, he was Italy’s chief diplomat. At this point in his career Ruggiero passed into politics, becoming minister for trade for four years (1987–1991). In 1995, he was elected director general of the newly constituted World Trade Organization (WTO), which he directed, with some aplomb, for four years. In June 2001, he was nominated foreign minister by Silvio Berlusconi, but Ruggiero, as the quintessential insider in international organizations, was visibly uneasy with the anti-Europeanist rhetoric of the Lega Nord/Northern League (LN) and with the dilettantism of much of the government. He resigned after only six months in the job in January 2002. Since 2002, Ruggiero has worked in international banking.
   See also European Integration.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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