Spain's economy minister tipped for Eurogroup head

Spain has proposed its economy minister, Nadia Calvino, to head the Eurogroup of 19 Eurozone finance ministers, news wires reported.  A technocrat, who is also a deputy prime minister in Spain’s left-wing coalition, she may face competition from Luxembourg’s finance minister Pierre Gramegna and Irish counterpart Pascal Donohoe.

Proposals for candidates to the new Eurogroup chair, who will play a major role in designing policies for economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis, must be submitted by the end of today, with vote set for 9 July. The Eurogroup post has been vacant since Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno announced earlier in June that he would not seek a second 2-1/2 year term.

“It would be an honour for the Spanish government if Nadia Calvino were to take on the presidency,” PM Pedro Sanchez tweeted. “For the first time, Spain and a woman would lead this institution.” Confirming her candidacy, Calvino, an economist and former director general for the European Commission’s community budget, said she would seek prosperity for all Europeans.

An independent with moderate social democratic views, Calvino has been in Sanchez’s government since mid-June 2018. Calvino has served as a counterweight in Sanchez’s coalition to the hard-left Unidas Podemos, which has placed a communist as labour minister. If she becomes Eurogroup head, Calvino would have to stay in cabinet for at least two years. The government previously proposed her to head the International Monetary Fund.

Brussels officials said the Spanish minister had a good reputation. “Calvino is highly competent... It makes sense to have the Eurogroup chair come from the south... Last but not least, she is a woman, and it’s about time to break also this glass ceiling,” one senior EU official said, predicting she would win.

Filling the position fits into a broader round of negotiations for major European Union posts aiming to balance political leanings and regions. Madrid has long wanted to chair the group, but also has ambitions on leadership of the World Trade Organisation for Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya. The Eurogroup’s leader plays a crucial role in hammering out compromises on regional policies and chairs the board of the euro zone bailout fund.

Similar articles