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Paschal Donohoe faces no challengers for Eurogroup job

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Irish Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, taking part in a discussion on the cost of living at the Technological University of the Shannon in Athlone, Co Westmeath, for the Fine Gael Ard Fheis. Picture date: Saturday November 19, 2022.

Irish Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, taking part in a discussion on the cost of living at the Technological University of the Shannon in Athlone, Co Westmeath, for the Fine Gael Ard Fheis. Picture date: Saturday November 19, 2022.

Irish Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, taking part in a discussion on the cost of living at the Technological University of the Shannon in Athlone, Co Westmeath, for the Fine Gael Ard Fheis. Picture date: Saturday November 19, 2022.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has emerged as the only candidate to succeed himself as Eurogroup head.

Nominations closed Thursday lunchtime, but Mr Donohoe must still secure the support of at least 10 eurozone countries to clinch another two-and-a-half year term in the role.

A vote is scheduled for December 5.

The finance minister said this week that he had received “positive support publicly and privately” from other EU countries for a second term.

Mr Donohoe’s current term ends in mid-January.

His re-election hinges on his colleagues agreeing to let two Irish ministers – Mr Donohoe and his soon-to-be replacement as finance minister, Michael McGrath – attend Brussels meetings.

There is a precedent for the move, with former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker chairing Eurogroup meetings alongside his finance minister for almost 10 years.

Mr Donohoe put his compromise solution to his eurozone colleagues at a meeting earlier this month.

Belgium and the Netherlands indicated they would back him for a second term, while Finland has made positive noises.

But Spain’s economy minister Nadia Calvino – who was one of Mr Donohoe’s rivals for the role in 2020 – refused to reveal her hand, saying only that Mr Donohoe had done a “good job” so far.

The Eurogroup presidency is considered one of Europe’s top jobs.

The holder chairs monthly meetings of finance ministers from the soon-to-be 20 countries using the euro and represents the bloc at EU leaders’ summits and some international meetings, including the G7.

Mr Donohoe said he has been “a consensus builder” and “a constant political contact” as Eurogroup president and that his re-election would “offer stability and experience in the Eurogroup at a time of growing economic uncertainty”.

He was first elected to the position in July 2020. His bid for re-election comes ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle next month, when he is expected to switch portfolios with Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Michael McGrath.

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