(dpa) - The European Union's top justice commissioner, Franco Frattini, is to become foreign minister in the next Italian government, prime minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday.
"The foreign minister will be someone who already has great experience. He is Franco Frattini," Berlusconi said in a late night post-election round of interviews with Italian broadcasters.
Frattini, 51, held the post for two years in the second Berlusconi government, between 2002 and 2004.
In that period, Italy held the six-month rotating presidency of the EU. And in his role as chairman of EU foreign ministers' meetings, Frattini distinguished himself as a skilful mediator during the drafting of the European Constitution, which was subsequently ditched by referenda held in France and the Netherlands.
A member of Berlusconi's conservative People of Freedom party, Frattini was appointed European Commission vice-president and Justice, Freedom and Security commissioner in 2004.
He replaced Italy's first choice of candidate, Rocco Buttiglione of the Catholic Union of Christian Democrats, who had failed to secure the backing of the European Parliament after making disparaging remarks about homosexuals.
During his time in office in Brussels, Frattini made numerous proposals aimed at cracking down on terrorists and illegal immigrants.
Some of his most controversial ideas include fingerprinting all non-EU visitors, a ban on violent video games and the chemical castration of paedophiles.
Frattini suspended himself from his post as commissioner to take part in the Italian election campaign.
Once he is made foreign minister, the new Italian government will have to propose a new candidate for a post in the commission, which according to EU rules must represent all 27 member states.