• Profile: This is Paschal Donohoe, Calviño's rival who prepared Ireland for Brexit

The Vice President and Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño , will compete for the presidency of the Eurogroup with the Irish Paschal Donohoe after the withdrawal of Luxembourgian Pierre Gramegna . After the first round of telematic and secret devotee, the ministers have spoken. The result is not known or will be publicly known, but Gramegna's withdrawal indicates that she had the least support.

The speculations of the last days indicated that Calviño had more options if he obtained the 10 necessary votes in the first round, but that he will have more difficulties in the second, because Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Belgium, endorsements assumed in the always compact Benelux, could opting for the Irish conservative, with whom there may be more attunement in tax matters than with the Spanish.

The mandate is for two and a half years and can be renewed . The position would not imply that she ceased to be a minister, but quite the opposite: the unwritten rules stipulate that if a president of this informal body lost his position in his Government, he should also stop coordinating his colleagues.

Calviño started or part as a favorite to have the explicit support of Germany, Italy and France, although only the latter has been public today. However, in recent weeks the pools have been very tight. Donohoe, who doubted until the last moment whether to appear, had the structure of the European People's Party and the sympathy of the governments of liberal court for the second round, once her candidate was discarded.

All the sources consulted in the last days spoke of a very tight result and of last-minute efforts to try to seduce Malta or Cyprus (the first socialist, the second of the popular ones) or to attract executives like the second in the second round of voting. Belgian or some Baltic. The Vice President and the Prime Minister, in a few weeks loaded with phone calls, teleconferences, pressure and insistence, have managed to scratch some votes. From Nordic countries like Finland, whose economic worldview is very different. Or Greece, governed by a conservative prime minister, but much more in tune with the policies defended by the Spanish for the coming years within the Eurozone.

Calviño aspires to what Luis de Guindos tried but could not do in 2015. The Eurogroup presidency does not give executive powers to its manager, there is no quality vote or unilateral decision-making capacity. But if it would give him and his team the ability to control and set the agenda, prioritize certain issues, seek consensus. You can decide when to continue or stop a debate, when to press or not. Choose the language and be the public face of the ministers, the spokesperson, the one that sets the tone, the ambition and the one that will act as an interlocutor, for example, with the heads of state and government at the summits of the European Council.

And at a time when issues such as the EU Recovery Fund of up to 750 billion euros, the Community Budget until 2027, completing the Banking Union, reinforcing the international role of the single currency or outlining have to be decided or outlined. What will the process be like to evaluate the National Reform Plans and who will have the last word on conditionality so that the countries can receive Community funds? Having someone at the head of the Eurogroup seems very important.

The voting system used today, at a distance because it has not been a face-to-face meeting but by teleconference, is so secret that not only can nobody know who has voted for whom or will never know, but in theory only the three candidates know how many votes had each one. The process started with an intervention by the three candidates in front of their colleagues, explaining their priorities, strengths and asking for the vote. Next, Mário Centeno , in his last meeting, has launched the process.

Two Council officials have been in charge of verifying the result of the vote, through an online application. The two of them, and no one else, are the ones who have informed the delegations. The Eurogroup has always been criticized for its opacity and, in this, it is consistent even in its very basic operation.

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Know more

  • Eurogroup
  • Nadia Calviño
  • Spain
  • Ireland

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