The acting first vice president Nadia Calviño plans to make her candidacy for the presidency of the European Investment Bank compatible with her presence in the Government of Pedro Sánchez, even in the next legislature, if he obtains support. Of course, if Calviño achieved the necessary European endorsement, her functions in the Spanish Executive would be carried out “until the end of the year”, the Minister of Economic Affairs has also expressed. “Sánchez has clearly expressed his trust in me; and I, my commitment to him leading, coordinating and directing the Government’s economic policy in the coming months and in the next legislature. The process that is being opened now does not interfere at all with these functions ”, she pointed out in an appearance in Cádiz.
The Government of Spain announced on Friday the formalization of Calviño’s candidacy. The decision, according to the vice president, arose after informal meetings between her and Sánchez, in which both agreed that she was the best positioned to try to win the EIB presidency for Spain for the first time in her history. “Given the caliber of the rest of the candidacies, Sánchez and I saw that only one candidacy with my name had the best chance of success. (Presenting) any other candidate would have been giving up the battle for lost,” she said. “Given its importance, the president opts for a strong candidacy,” she added. In any case, the minister’s team has also specified that, if she is not elected, her intention is to continue to be part of that hypothetical government led by Sánchez.
The presentation of Calviño’s candidacy does not affect the investiture negotiations, according to government sources. “That is a personal bet of the president and the vice president, who have shown total harmony in the last legislature. If he wins the presidency (of the EIB) a weighty figure will leave, difficult to replace, who has managed to add a more political profile to her profile as a manager, ”the same sources point out. However, as the aforementioned woman herself has defended from Cádiz, both have understood that it was the right opportunity to try to elevate a Spanish candidate to the presidency of the EIB. “It is now when you have to present the candidacy, and it is now when you had to choose a candidate with the best chances of competing for that position, which would give Spain more presence in the European institutions,” they have defended from the Executive.
For the vice-president, her proposal brings together the combination of the prestige that Spanish economic policy has acquired in Europe over the years, her international profile and her experience accumulated over the years, with positions such as chair of the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the IMF, which expires this year. It is the third time that Calviño has run for positions at the highest European level after unsuccessfully trying to be elected to the leadership of the IMF and the presidency of the Eurogroup. To now achieve maximum representation in the European Investment Bank, it would be the first time that a Spaniard and a woman achieved it. “For the first time in our history, Spain can opt for a top-level position such as the presidency of the EIB.”
Now a process is beginning that will mark the political future of Calviño between now and the end of the year. “What we do is start a process,” the vice president clarified, in a statement made at the Cádiz Government Sub-delegation, taking advantage of her stay in the province. That calendar has August 17 marked in red, at which time the candidacies will be formally validated. But the appointment – which requires “super-qualified majorities” in the voting of the Member States, as the candidate herself has clarified – will be decided in the informal Council of Ministers of Economy and Finance (Ecofin) in Santiago de Compostela, scheduled for the next 15 and September 16. The chosen name will be made formal at the EIB’s Board of Governors in October and the person would take office in January 2024, when the term of German Werner Hoyer is expected to end.
Calviño intends to make all this calendar of the candidacy compatible with his presence in the acting Government and, even, with the hypothetical Executive that Sánchez put together, if he finally obtains sufficient support from Congress. “It does not interfere with my duties which, in any case, would continue until the end of the year and I am confident that this will be not only in a government in office, but in the new one in the next legislature”, the vice president clarified to questions from THE COUNTRY.
Spain is one of the EIB’s main clients, although the institution founded in 1958 has never had a Spanish president. Last year it received about 10,000 million euros – on a par with Italy and France. This made it possible to mobilize another 23,000 million for the Spanish economy. In total, the country has an outstanding balance of 66,000 million euros in loans. Calviño will compete with powerful candidates such as Margrethe Vestager, current vice president of the European Commission, and former Italian Finance Minister Daniele Franco. The vice president has reiterated that, given “the caliber” of these candidacies, a strong commitment from Spain was necessary to achieve “the maximum chances of success.”
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