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Italy picks former PM Gentiloni as EU commissioner - government source

FILE PHOTO: Former Prime Minister and President of Democratic Party Paolo Gentiloni walks into the Presidential Palace for consultations with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Rome, Italy, August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s new government has put forward former centre-left Democratic Party (PD) premier Paolo Gentiloni to be the next Italian EU Commissioner, a government source said on Thursday.

Gentiloni served as 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. A PD source said Gentiloni was expected to get a top economic portfolio.

The new Italian coalition, formed by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the Democratic Party, was sworn into office on Thursday. Italy was the only member of the 28-nation bloc that had yet to put forward a candidate for the commission.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Writing by Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer