Counsellor Riccardo Villa is Deputy Head of the Cyber Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome since 1st September 2020. After several years of work in the private sector (Telecoms), he joined the Italian Foreign Service in 2004 and worked at the DG for Sub-Saharan Africa until he left for Angola where he served for 3 years as Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Italy (also credited to Sao Tomé and Principe). In 2009, he joined the Italian Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels where he covered different sectors: Relations with the European Parliament, Africa Working Group and Political-Military Group. During the 2014 Italian Presidency of the EU, he chaired the Friends of the Presidency (FoP) group on Maritime Security (which successfully approved the EU Maritime Security Action Plan) and the FoP on Cyber Issues, tabling the first set of EU Council Conclusions on Cyber Diplomacy.
In December 2014, he was recruited by the European External Action Service (EEAS) as Chair of the EU Council Africa Working Group (COAFR), thus contributing to shaping the EU’s external policy towards the African continent, including its response to the migration crisis. His secondment to the EU was renewed in 2017, as Deputy Head of Mission and Head of the Political, Press and Information Section of the EU Delegation to Yemen, based in Amman, Jordan.
Born in 1975, Counsellor Villa is fluent in English, French and Spanish, he knows Portuguese and has basic notions of Arabic. He is a founding member of the European Security and Defence College alumni association. He is married and his frequent travels are guided by his interest for outdoor sports (skiing, trekking, biking, swimming), music, fine arts (he collects contemporary art) and food.