Tuesday 17 September 2019

Race set to start in earnest for last of the plum ECB positions

The political horse trading over jobs in the European Central Bank's Executive Board will soon enter the next phase (stock photo)
The political horse trading over jobs in the European Central Bank's Executive Board will soon enter the next phase (stock photo)

Nikos Chrysoloras and Zoe Schneeweiss

The political horse trading over jobs in the European Central Bank's Executive Board will soon enter the next phase.

The president of the Eurogroup, Mario Centeno, will invite bids from candidates to succeed Benoit Coeure on the six-member body that devises and implements ECB policy, a senior EU official told reporters in Brussels.

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Coeure's job is the final of four board posts to come available in 2018 and 2019. The others were president, vice-president and chief economist of the ECB, going to officials from France, Spain and Ireland (Philip Lane), respectively.

The Frenchman leaves at the end of December, and Italy, which will lose its seat for the first time since the ECB was founded when Mario Draghi's eight-year term as president finishes in October, is expected to push to fill the vacancy.

Other countries may also throw their hat into the ring though - eastern Europe has never had a seat.

The deadline for submission will be sometime within the next few weeks, according to the EU official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Finance ministers will then decide on Coeure's successor when they meet in Luxembourg on October 10.

While Coeure was in charge of market operations for the ECB, Christine Lagarde has the right to reshuffle board members' portfolios when she takes over from Draghi on November 1.

The next vacancy won't open until December 2020, when Yves Mersch's terms ends.

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