Wednesday

26th Sep 2018

Eurogroup starts process to pick new ECB chiefs

  • Spain's de Guindos, the Eurogroup's longest-serving member, is favourite to become ECB vice-president (Photo: Council of the EU)

The future of the eurozone's monetary policies will be partly shaped on Monday (19 February) when eurozone finance ministers give their preference on who should be the next vice-president of the European Central Bank (ECB).



The ministers have to choose between two candidates: their Spanish colleague Luis de Guindos and the governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Philip Lane.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Irish central bank chief Lane has the backing of MEPs (Photo: centralbank.ie/flickr)

"These are two excellent candidates," Eurogroup president Mario Centeno said last week.

De Guindos, the only politician to run for the post, has been the favourite for many months.

As finance minister in the Spanish conservative government since 2011, he is the longest-serving member of the Eurogroup - and ran to be its president in 2015. He worked previously at Lehman Brothers bank and the PriceWaterhouseCoopers consultancy firm.

De Guindos has the public support of several countries, including Centeno's Portugal. According to Spanish daily El Mundo, he is also supported by France - a crucial backing to secure the Eurogroup's endorsement.

De Guindos' competitor, Ireland's Lane, benefited from a political momentum last week after a hearing at the European Parliament.

After listening to both candidates, MEPs from the economic and monetary affairs committee (Econ) found that Lane's performance was "more convincing".

"Some groups expressed reservations for minister De Guindos appointment," the committee's chairman, Roberto Gualtieri, said in a statement.

"Lane has shown himself to be a distinguished and proven economist. De Guindos, on the other hand, as a politician who would like ... a top job at the ECB," Green MEPs Sven Giegold noted, summarising the arguments about the two candidates.

In a tweet addressed to Centeno last week, socialist MEP Pervenche Beres, an influential member of Econ, called on the Eurogroup to "think twice about the good choice".

EU officials point out however that the EU parliament's need only to be consulted about the appointment. The final say will be for EU leaders, after their finance ministers issue a recommendation.

The recommendation will be adopted on Tuesday, when all 28 ministers meet. But Monday's discussion between the eurozone's 19 ministers is were the decision will be prepared.

The appointment of the new ECB vice president, in replacement to Portugal's Vitor Constancio whose term ends in June, is the first move in a process to renew the top echelon of the ECB.

Opening door to Weidmann?

ECB president Mario Draghi will leave in November 2019, and many consider that if someone from the south is appointed ECB vice president, the next president will have to come from the north.

 That could leave the door open to Jens Weidmann, the head of the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, or an ally of him.


Weidmann is a staunch critic of Draghi's monetary policies, with low interest rates and a massive assets buying programme to pump money into the economy.


Many fear that with De Guindos - who implemented Spain's austerity policies - and Weidmann, the ECB would become less accommodating and more strict on fiscal policies.

Other consider that De Guindos' appointment to the ECB executive board would create a precedent, and weaken's the body's independence towards eurozone governments.


In addition to the president and vice-president, three other members of the six-strong board will have to be replaced in the next two years, leaving several opportunities to reshape the ECB's policies.


Draghi opens fire at US dollar policy

The European Central Bank chief has accused the Trump administration of breaking a decades-old agreement by "targeting" exchange rates to boost the US economy.

ECB slows down eurozone support scheme

Starting in January, the European Central Bank will reduce its emergency bond-buying programme from €60 billion to €30 billion a month.

Spain's De Guindos to be ECB vice-president

Spanish finance minister Luis de Guindos will join the the European Central Bank in June, after his sole rival for the vice-presidency job stepped down on Monday.

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

News in Brief

  1. No UK election before Brexit, says May
  2. Former French PM wants to be mayor of Barcelona
  3. Merkel's wingman in surprise defeat in internal party vote
  4. Orban sends thank-you letters to supportive MEPs
  5. UN chief: World suffering from 'trust deficit disorder'
  6. Stalemate in Sweden as parliament ousts prime minister
  7. Migrant rescue ship heading to French port
  8. EU angry at British tabloids on Brexit

Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president

Europe must have a robust foreign policy and nurture high-tech industries, Slovak EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic has said in his bid to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next EU commission president.

'Every group split' ahead of EU copyright vote

Political groups in the European Parliament are split about how to vote for a directive that would reform the EU's copyright regime - amid warnings that freedom of expression and creators' rights are at risk.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. World upside down as EU and Russia unite against US
  2. EU court delivers transparency blow on MEP expenses
  3. Russian with Malta passport in money-laundering probe
  4. Cyprus: Russia's EU weak link?
  5. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  6. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  7. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  8. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  5. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  6. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  9. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  11. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us