Until Tuesday he was the Italian Ambassador in Cairo, like Giulio Regeni a witness of the brutality of the Abdel Fattah el-Sisi regime. But above all, of the many false leads that have marked the investigation into the murder of the Italian researcher in Egypt, he is custodian of one of the worst Italian diplomatic crisis in recent decades. While formally still in Rome for consultations after being recalled on April 8, Maurizio Massari was appointed Tuesday as the new permanent Representative to the European Union. He takes the place of the new Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda, who held the position in Brussels — despite the name — for just two months. It is a promotion that has the flavor of a demotion.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced the news at the end of the Council of Ministers: “I am proud to announce that, based on the recommendation of Minister Gentiloni” — he clarified during a press conference at Palazzo Chigi — “the CDM appointed ambassador Maurizio Massari as chief ambassador in Brussels. In the meantime,” Renzi added, “in order to prevent leaving the seat of Cairo symbolically empty, considering the particular situation, to prevent even another day in the absence of the ambassador, we have nominated Giampaolo Cantini, a great expert on North Africa, as the new ambassador in Egypt.”
The new ambassador, however — unless Renzi has already decided to send the Italian ambassador in Cairo back after the small signal of cooperation shown by the Egyptian authorities — will still stay in Italy. Or at least until Rome’s demands for investigative reports and evidence are met. The last request was issued in a letter sent April 14 by Rome’s chief prosecutor, Giuseppe Pignatone.