Paris makes Calvino wait with Vestager | economy

The head of the government, Pedro Sánchez, is betting heavily on Nadia Calvino to be the next head of the European Investment Bank (EIB). If he wins, the first vice president and economy minister will have to leave his renewed post within two weeks. It was December 3rd. Calvino is more likely to achieve that. The Chief Secretary knows, but he doesn’t.

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The head of the government, Pedro Sánchez, is betting heavily on Nadia Calvino to be the next head of the European Investment Bank (EIB). If he wins, the first vice president and economy minister will have to leave his renewed post within two weeks. It was December 3rd. Calvino is more likely to achieve that. The head of the executive knows this, but despite the fact that if successful, it would cause a government crisis 40 days after the new (long-suffering) executive takes office, he doesn’t mind renewing his confidence. Sanchez will find out next Friday if his move, again risky, has turned out well. For that to happen, what France does will be crucial, the only major country still covering its cards.

This December 8, Ecofin, the body that brings together EU finance ministers, meets in Brussels with two main points on its agenda: the reform of financial rules and the election of the next president of the EIB. The latter will be addressed during the breakfast, proposed by Belgian Minister Vincent van Pettechem, who is responsible for coordinating the process and informal consultations as rotating chairman of the Bank’s Board of Governors. After them, on Thursday he sent a letter to his colleagues: “I would like to propose Nadia Calvino. [para que se vote] As the next president of the EIB. It’s a way of saying he thinks he’ll be running for Spain’s economy minister with more support after talking to financial leaders.

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The last day of the year marks the end of Werner Hoyer’s mandate as head of the EIB, the main public bank for European institutions such as the ICO in Spain, for example, related to the Spanish rescue program that manages 20 billion loans. From the start, the replacement process was a one-on-one between Calvino and the Danish liberal Margrethe Vestager, vice-president of the European Commission, although she was temporarily removed from the post as she ran for another post. All the sources consulted over the course of several months point unhesitatingly to the fact that they are the favourites, indeed, Vestager feels so strongly that he retained his candidacy even after Belgium indicated that his opponent would have more options. There are three other alternatives (former Italian finance minister, Daniele Franco, and already company vice presidents, Poland’s Tereza Czerwinska and Sweden’s Tomas Astros) although few sources outside their home countries offer them possibilities.

There was no shortage of speculators who hypothesized that Franco would emerge as the consensus candidate in the face of mutual blockade between the Spanish and Danish. If that happens or if Vestager wins (something still possible), it will be the third time Calvino has frustrated his ambitions in the EU: in 2019 he sought the support of European partners as managing director of the IMF. Bulgarian Kristalina Georgieva; A year later, against all odds, he lost the Eurogroup presidency to Irishman Pascal Donohoe.

But the election process for the presidency of the EIB is different from those processes. No more one vote per country. It is decided by a double majority of 68% capital and votes of 18 states/shareholders. This gives large companies more power because they hold more shares: Germany has the same capitalization as France and Italy (18.8%); Spain will be the fourth partner (11%), Netherlands and Belgium 5.2%; Until reaching Poland, the EU’s smallest country with 4.6% and Malta with 0.05%.

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Van Pettechem knows something that almost no one else does: what the distribution of powers actually looks like. Very few countries have publicly stated who they support. Germany and Portugal, yes Calvino, also have the support of Belgium. Bulgaria and Greece support Vestager, and Italy will too if its candidate has no options. In this situation, the decision of Paris with this electoral system seems almost decisive to make it, at least, Spain’s only viable option. But neither French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire nor President Emmanuel Macron responded to repeated questions about the matter. The French economic newspaper reached the highest Echoes It should be pointed out that Paris did not oppose the Spanish option.

It is hard to imagine that Belgium would have taken the step of proposing Calvino’s name to the referendum without knowing France’s decision. However, many sources from the countries and other candidates consider the move by the EIB’s rotating presidency as an unusual way to prevent a process that has been stalled since September. Van Pettechem has given his colleagues until this Monday to oppose his proposal. “We’re a little surprised, there are still four options,” one of the candidates pointed out disgruntled this Friday. Other sources indicate that there were countries that did not approve of Van Bethechem’s path to undoing the move, although it is unclear whether they would take action to openly show their opposition. One of them expected this Saturday that the countries of the four lagging candidates, Denmark, Poland, Italy and Sweden, would do so. One of these countries simply said they would retain their candidate.

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For this unrest to survive the current ban, there must be 10 countries contributing at least 32% of the capital plus a share. Those four states with candidates now add up to 29.4%, leaving Greece and Bulgaria out of reach. But it remains to be seen what the other capitals with Vestager, who is considered to have the support of a larger number of medium and small states than Calvino, think and whether they are willing to delay the EIB presidential election. long time. A good barometer of this would be the position adopted by the Netherlands, with a liberal government similar to that of Denmark, although a minister, Sigrid Kok, maintains a very good personal relationship with Spain. Hand in hand a proposal to push for reform of the Stability and Growth Pact.

If the dissidents gain enough support, it could extend a situation that has been blocked for months and consolidates by keeping a rotating presidency of the Spanish Council while EU finance ministers debate reform of financial rules. European union. And it will coincide with the next elections for the headquarters of the European Anti-Money Laundering Agency (AMLA) in Madrid, Frankfurt, Paris and Rome. In fact, the Italian Ministry of Finance, while responding without denying information from the Bloomberg agency, indicated that it would support Vestager if Franco ran out of options, recalling in the same message that Rome wanted AMLA’s headquarters.

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