Ettore Balestrero (21 December 1966) is the current apostolic nuncio to Colombia since his appointed was announced on 22 February 2013. He had previously served as Undersecretary for Relations with States, the deputy to Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.
Monsignor Balestrero will take his position as under-secretary in the section for relations with states. The Genoa-born monsignor was already serving as an advisor in that department.
After attending law school, he entered the Almo Collegio Capranica and was ordained a priest on 18 September 1993 for the diocese of Rome by Cardinal Camillo Ruini. He earned a degree in theology and a doctorate in Canon Law. After serving in the Parish of Santa Maria Mater Ecclesiae al Torrino in Rome, he became a student at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.
He entered the Holy See's diplomatic service in 1996, serving in Korea, Mongolia and the Netherlands. Since 2001 he has served in the Secretariat of State. He was appointed as Undersecretary for Relations with States replacing Pietro Parolin who was appointed as Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela on the same day.
Msgr. Balestrero’s task will be to oversee the work of the office of Relations with States and maintain contacts with ambassadors around the world. Msgr. Balestrero has an American mother and speaks fluent English as well as French, Spanish, German and Dutch.
In July 2012 the Council of Europe released a report that marked a milestone in the Holy See's efforts to shed its reputation as a tax haven long mired in secrecy and scandal. The report showed the Vatican had received compliant or largely compliant grades on nine of the 16 "key and core" internationally recognised recommendations to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. However, seven other areas were found lacking, particularly its anti-terror finance measures and the Vatican's financial oversight agency. The report found the agency had yet to conduct any inspections, and that its role, authority and independence needed clarification. The so-called Moneyval committee praised the Holy See for making so much progress in a short amount of time, but said more needs to be done. "We take both the praise and criticism contained in the report with seriousness" said Monsignor Balestrero, head of the Vatican delegation to the Moneyval committee.
He went on to say that the "report released today is not an end, but a milestone in our continuing efforts. In regards to the actual findings, simply stated we obviously wish to strengthen the overall system; in particular out of the 16 key and core recommendations of the international standards to fight ML/FT there are 7 areas where the Holy See must and will focus on. In this light, the report released today is not the end, but is rather an important passage of our continuing efforts to marry moral commitments to technical excellence. We have taken a definitive step to lay the foundations to a structure – a house if you will – that is to a robust and sustainable system to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Now it is our wish to fully construct a building that effectively shows the Holy See’s and Vatican City State’s desire to be a reliable partner in the international community".
On 22 February 2013, in the last week of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI Msgr Balestrero was appointed apostolic nuncio to Colombia and at the same time Titular Archbishop of Vittoriana. He was replaced by Antoine Camilleri a priest of the diocese of Malta. Camilleri had previously served as a former personal secretary to Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.
Balestrero’s name was prominently mentioned in a sensational story in the Italian daily La Repubblica about the “Vatileaks” scandal. As the Vatican’s chief negotiator in talks with European banking officials, Msgr. Balestrero was caught up in a heated intramural debate about Vatican procedures for ensuring transparency in financial transactions. The sharp differences among members of the Roman Curia were reportedly cited by a commission of investigating cardinals as one motivation for the unauthorized leaks of confidential Vatican correspondence. However Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, denied that the new assignment for Msgr. Balestrero was connected with new reports on the “Vatileaks” investigation. The Vatican spokesman reminded reporters that the appointment of an apostolic nuncio is a time-consuming matter, since it entails obtaining approval from the government of the country to which he will be posted.