The future of Nadia Calviño as president of the Eurogroup now depends on two variables: the trust and support of the governments of the Eurozone and the trust and support of her own boss, President Pedro Sánchez. And it is not clear which of the two is more difficult to articulate.
That the vice president is running for office is not a secret. It does not confirm it, but it does not deny it. She says nothing in public, but weeks, months ago, the game started in private. His is a name that appears in all the pools and that all the ministries and embassies repeat when asked. It has elements that play in favor, some that play against. But above all, she has the doubt of knowing if Spain is going to bet on the position or prefers to concentrate forces on another or others. "The process for the election of the next person in charge of the Eurogroup has not started, and President [Sánchez] has not taken a decision on the different alternatives," Calviño herself acknowledged today.
In a media appearance before precisely starting a meeting by teleconference with his colleagues, the same ones that next month will have to formalize the succession of the Portuguese Mário Centeno, Calviño has cleared balls and all in the same direction: Moncloa. "Centeno will explain today what the election process will be. Spain has not adopted any decision, in the next few days we will see the alternatives and take the corresponding decisions as a country," he indicated.
On the table there are several options that sound. Perhaps the position of maximum person in charge of the OECD, when the Mexican Ángel Gurría leaves him. Or the general direction of the WTO, when the Brazilian Azevedo does the same in the coming months. International sources have put the names of Calviño herself and the Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, among the potential candidates. And there is insistent talk of the former astronaut turned politician Pedro Duque as the future leader of the European Space Agency. Some of the many "alternatives" that Sánchez must examine.
All at once are impossible. Several, one possibility, although complicated. One, very doable. That is why it is key to move the chips well, probe, see what partners and rivals think and distribute energy. Each voice is a favor that must be paid or returned.
Vice President Calviño has ambition. She wanted to be the European candidate to preside over the International Monetary Fund and since her arrival in Madrid, from Brussels, it sounds over and over again for all kinds of destinations. Like the European Commissioner, which in the end fell on Josep Borrell . She is very comfortable with the attention and praise. And she has managed to turn her good name out into her best campaign weapon. The irony is that, apparently, it is a more internal than external campaign, still.
The role of Spain, "recognized" and "important"
"I want to highlight that in achieving recent progress and successes, Spain has played a key role, I say this with modesty but also with the assurance and conviction that the role of Spain has been recognized by institutions and countries and has been important to achieve the progress that has been achieved in the European response, "said the vice president this afternoon. "Surely this can explain the talk of a Spanish candidate. It is an element that from the point of view of Spain is positive and gives a clear sign of confidence in our country," he added.
It is a singular vision. Calviño's name does not sound like a possible candidate to preside over the Eurogroup because the work of the country has been good in recent months, but because he aspires to the position and so they have dropped him. There has been no movement behind Centeno, whom Calviño praised yesterday for her work "forging consensus." The Portuguese doubted whether to continue as a Portuguese minister, but he has been in permanent contact with his colleagues and from his environment he has always defended the worth of the Spanish. They have not married her, there are good words for some of her potential rivals, but they consider that she is undoubtedly the favorite and who should get the job.
Journalists have tried today to get some more clue. What support would she have, if Germany is in the car, if she has already openly expressed to some foreign ministries her formal desire, but the president is waiting for the president to move on before launching. She does not want to and cannot burn herself, expose herself, and then have to back down even with a clear path. So she advocates caution in public, even though she knows these days are precious. The Eurogroup does not want to have to vote among several options. He wants unanimity , acclaim. May only one name come to July, and for that you have to make noise soon, get support, clear doubts and close doors.
"I am not going to speculate, we are going to analyze the alternatives and the president will make a decision taking into account the public interest and what is the best decision for Spain," Calviño has repeated up to half a dozen times. "It is clear that the decision rests with the president. He must define the country's position taking into account the interest of Spain in the European institutions and the international arena." A message for those who launch the questions, but also for those who must answer them.
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