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Margrethe Vestager is running against Spain's Economy and Finance Minister Nadia Calviño


EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders is provisionally taking over the post of EU Competition Commissioner in Brussels. As the EU Commission announced on Tuesday, Reynders will temporarily represent his predecessor Margrethe Vestager at the head of the competition authority. Vestager announced on the online service X, formerly Twitter, that she would take a temporary leave of absence because she was "officially running for the presidency of the European Investment Bank (EIB)".

The 55-year-old had previously been nominated by the Danish government for the post of EIB CEO. However, the Dane still has to prevail against a top-class competitor from Spain. If she fails to do so, Vestager will be able to return to her position in the EU Commission. Until then, however, she must withdraw from her duties in the Commission in accordance with EU rules.

Billions in fines imposed on Google and Amazon

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had "granted unpaid leave" to her deputy Vestager, according to the statement from Brussels. If Vestager were to be appointed EIB chief, von der Leyen would have to appoint a suitable candidate from Vestager's home country of Denmark as one of her Commissioners, as the rules require all 27 countries to be represented.

Vestager has headed the powerful European competition authority in Brussels for almost ten years. Since 2014, she has imposed billions in fines against Internet giants such as Google, Amazon and Apple, accusing them of abusing their market power. The Dane also clashed with former US President Donald Trump.

Before the summer break, Vestager had expressed interest in replacing the 71-year-old German Werner Hoyer at the helm of the EIB. The FDP politician and former Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office has headed the EU Investment Bank since 2012.

The EIB is the EU's bank and claims to be the largest multilateral financial institution in the world. Since its foundation in 1958, it has invested more than a trillion euros. At the moment, the main focus is on climate protection. Most recently, however, the EIB has also been committed to supporting Ukraine.

Spain has nominated Economy and Finance Minister Nadia Calviño for the bank post. She is an ex officio member of the Investment Bank's Board of Governors. That could work in their favor. The other EU finance ministers want to decide on the personnel at a meeting in Spain in mid-September.

After next year's European elections, the cards will be reshuffled in Brussels, and a new EU Commission will also be appointed.