Draghi doesn't want EU envoy job, source says, after Italy backed him

Italy's PM Draghi addresses the lower house of parliament before a vote of confidence, in Rome
Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi waves as he leaves after addressing the lower house of parliament ahead of a vote of confidence for the government after he tendered his resignation last week in the wake of a mutiny by a coalition partner, in Rome, Italy July 21, 2022. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

ROME, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Former European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi is not interested in a new job as a European Union envoy, a source close to him said on Thursday, despite the Italian government saying earlier it would support him.

German newspaper Handelsblatt reported this week that Draghi was being considered for the position of special envoy for EU's "Global Gateway" strategy.

Asked about the possible appointment, Rome's Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Thursday Draghi could count on Italy's backing if he was aiming for the position.

A few hour later the source, who asked not be named, said Draghi was not interested.

Draghi is highly respected in EU circles as a former head of the ECB who helped shore up the euro during the sovereign debt crisis of 2011-2012.

Brussels unveiled the 300-billion-euro ($327.36 billion) "Global Gateway" global infrastructure spending plan in 2021, calling it a better, greener alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative.

Beijing launched its plan in 2013 to boost its trade links with the rest of the world. Central Asia is among the regions where China has since heavily invested.

Draghi's last job was leading a grand coalition government in Italy during 2021-2022, which was replaced by Giorgia Meloni's right-wing administration in October.

($1 = 0.9164 euros)

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni and Alvise Armellini, writing by Angelo Amante, editing by Gavin Jones

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