The main suspect of having betrayed the third vice-president of the Government, Nadia Calviño, so that she was not elected president of the Eurogroup by a vote denies EL MUNDO to have been disloyal. "I voted for her both times, to the end," says Greek Finance Minister Christos Staikouras.
This professor of Economics is a member of the New Democracy and the European People's Party (PPE) and was one of the strengths of the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, to break the possible discipline of popular voting and get ten votes for Calviño. But she stayed at nine, despite the fact that she started the videoconference convinced that she won by giving for sure a majority around her of the 19 possible votes.
"I had at least 10 votes cast, but in the end some of the ministers did not do what they said they were going to do," the vice president revealed yesterday. "These things happen," he lamented in reference to the betrayal of one of the countries that preferred to deceive the Spanish government and get along with the Irish.
Who failed? Calviño cannot officially know, because the vote was secret on a confidential telematic platform, but the main suspect yesterday was the Greek Finance Minister, due to the possible pressure that he could have suffered from the PPE comrades. Sánchez had specially worked on his vote and had personally asked the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to force Staikouras to vote for Calviño on the grounds that a Mediterranean candidate was better for Greece. Mitsotakis complied and Staikouras also, according to his version, despite other popular ministers reminded him that the political force supported the Irish Paschal Donohue, who was the winner.
Other PPE members in the Eurogroup are Austrian Gernot Blümel, Croatian Zdravko Mari, Latvian Janis Reirs and Cypriot Constantinos Petrides - who usually vote alongside Staikouras, but not this time - who clearly supported the Irish. Also the great enemy of Calviño, the Dutchman, Wopke Hoekstra, always very critical of the lack of reforms and non-compliance with the deficit in Sánchez's first two years in power. Hoekstra was released, as was Belgian Alexander de Croo, to back the Irishman when Benelux candidate Pierre Gramegna retired after the first vote.
The Luxembourg liberal himself, who is part of a coalition government headed by a socialist, preferred Donohue over Calviño after he was not elected. But as the vice president herself admitted yesterday, the complexity of the Eurogroup is not only political affiliation, but the cohesion of small countries against large or particular interests. For example, Maltese socialist Edward Scicluna may be more interested in Donohue's lax fiscal vision than in Calviño's.
The accumulation of votes from small countries around the Dutch Jeroen Dijsselbloem has already been suffered by the then Spanish candidate, Luis de Guindos, although Sánchez's reaction then was very critical, as recalled yesterday by the PP leader, Pablo Casado.
It was on July 15, 2015, when, after being defeated Guindos, the then opposition chief Pedro Sánchez mocked Rajoy in Parliament. "German support was not enough," he reproached him. Nor has the German Social Democratic Minister Olaf Scholz's favorable vote now been for Calviño. And Sánchez went so far as to justify that the European socialists did not support Guindos: "How were they going to vote for the candidate who produced and caused the rescue of the financial sector in our country, which was Guindos?"
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- Pablo Casado
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