Luis de Guindos – incumbent Spain’s Minister of Finance – was endorsed yesterday (Monday February the 19th) as the next vice president of the European Central Bank (ECB) by the Eurozone’s 19 finance ministers. This endorsement took place when the only rival of de Guindos – Irish Central Bank governor Philip Lane – pulled out of race. In order to succeed at Portugal’s Vítor Constâncio, Luis de Guindos needs to be recommended by Ecofin Council today.
Nevertheless, “Lane’s central banking experience had reportedly made him the preferred choice among ECB officials and MEPs” (Lane has the preference of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament). “But De Guindos benefited from a big lobbying effort from Madrid, which was validated when both Germany and France decided to lend their support”. Furthermore, as former head of Lehman Brothers in Spain, and former executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Luis de Guindos was also the “Eurogroup’s longest-serving minister”.
Despite many years of experience “he will be grilled by MEPs next Monday (26 February) and the ECB will issue a statement giving its blessing in the coming days”, Euractiv sources’ said. “The unprecedented decision to send a politician directly from a eurozone ministry to the ECB’s Executive Council was seen by critics as a blow to the central bank’s independence” (Euractiv.com). This choice was criticised by S&D group: « his appointment could create a conflict of interest and undermine the independence of the governance of the ECB » or by Green MEP Sven Giegold: « the Eurogroup is doing the ECB’s credibility a disservice ».
The final decision will be taken by EU leaders in March.
For further information:
Consillium.europa.eu. “ECB Vice Presidency: Eurogroup gives support to Luis de Guindos”. Press release. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/02/19/ecb-vice-presidency-eurogroup-gives-support-to-luis-de-guindos/
Politico EU. ECB job for De Guindos puts Madrid back in the game. https://www.politico.eu/article/ecb-luis-de-guindos-spain-pus-madrid-back-in-the-game/
EU Observer. Spain’s De Guindos to be ECB vice-president. https://euobserver.com/institutional/141030
Euractiv. Eurogroup picks ‘pragmatic’ De Guindos for ECB vice-presidency. https://www.euractiv.com/section/economic-governance/news/eurogroup-picks-pragmatic-de-guindos-for-ecb-vice-presidency/