The political and institutional world is mourning the sudden death, on 28 June 2011, of retired Ambassador Silvio Fagiolo, one of Italian diplomacy’s leading figures in recent decades. The entire Foreign Ministry extends its heartfelt feelings of affectionate solidarity to Silvio Fagiolo’s family, and mourns the loss of one of its most admired and gifted colleagues in a spirit of deep and sincere sadness.
President Napolitano described Ambassador Fagiolo as “an eminent figure in Italian diplomacy and Europeanism. He represented the country in numerous important posts, from Washington and Berlin to high-profile international missions, in the most worthy manner. His contribution to the drafting of the European Treaties and to the construction of a united Europe in general are inestimable”.
For Minister Frattini, Ambassador Fagiolo “honoured the diplomatic career with ideals, principles and loyalty to the institutions”. Umberto Ranieri, member of Parliament for the PD, told the Chamber that “we have lost a leading figure in Italian diplomacy, who represented Italy most honourably in numerous prestigious positions. A cultivated and accomplished diplomat, who was passionately engaged in analysing major international issues”.
The Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Maurizio Massari, underscored that Fagiolo “produced policies and set out the policy line for all the ministers he worked with on all of the most significant dossiers. He was a key actor in and direct witness to the most important pages of our diplomacy in recent decades”. His experience in key missions in Moscow, Washington, Brussels and Berlin “certainly helped him become a diplomat of the highest calibre. But it was also, and above all, Fagiolo himself, with his unique intellectual curiosity, his zest for in-depth analysis, that had the merit of raising those experiences to a higher level and placing all of this at the service of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.
Massari recalled Silvio Fagiolo as a “diplomat, strategist and negotiator in the years of the Inter-Governmental Conference to review the Maastricht Treaty” but also “as an acute analyst and writer. From Soviet Russia he produced a book on ‘pressure-groups in the USSR’, a pioneering work on the pluralism – admittedly a leadership-focused and hidden pluralism – that held Brezhnev’s USSR together. And his experience in Detroit produced the book on ‘the American worker’, on the development of the scientific organisation of labour in American factories in the wake of Taylorism and Fordism. And after his experience in the United States in the years immediately following the fall of the Berlin Wall came his book on ‘the cold peace’, which anticipated the problems of the post-bipolar world. He wrote his last work, on the historic course followed by the European Union, not as a diplomat but as a LUISS university professor”.
Born in Rome on 15 July 1938, Silvio Fagiolo worked at the EEC Commission before entering the diplomatic service in 1969. The posts he covered include Minister Counsellor in Washington (1992-1995) and head of the Private Office of Foreign Ministers Susanna Agnelli and Lamberto Dini. One of the key players in the negotiations for Masstricht and Nice Treaties, he was a permanent representative to the European Union from 2000 to 2001 and Ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005. A leader-writer with the Sole 24 Ore newspaper, he taught International Relations at Rome’s LUISS Guido Carli University from September 2005.