‘Full weight’ of diplomatic services behind Lane ECB nomination

Paschal Donohoe says important for countries to identify ambitions

Paschal Donohoe declined to say who might succeed Prof Lane in the event of his moving to the ECB. Photograph: Collins

Paschal Donohoe declined to say who might succeed Prof Lane in the event of his moving to the ECB. Photograph: Collins

 

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has pledged to throw the “full weight” of Ireland’s diplomatic services to secure the European Central Bank vice-presidency for Central Bank governor Philip Lane as the position becomes available in the coming months.

“I think it’s always very important that countries identify the ambitions that they have to be represented at key European institutions,” Mr Donohoe told reporters on the sidelines of the European Financial Forum conference in Dublin on Wednesday. “We are going to be putting the full weight of our diplomatic services and the Department of Finance in our efforts to get him elected.”

The Republic is the only founding member of the euro not to have held a seat on the six-member executive board of the ECB. The vice-president’s job is currently held by Vitor Constancio, who is set to retire in May.

Leading contender

Spanish economy minister, Luis de Guindos, is seen as the leading contender for the position as euro zone finance minister prepare to vote on the appointment on February 19th before a European Parliament hearing and a formal appointment by European Union leaders. In all, two-thirds of the ECB’s executive board is due to step down by the end of last year.

Mr Donohoe declined to say who might succeed Prof Lane should he secure one of the ECB positions that are coming up. The Government agreed on Tuesday to nominate Prof Lane for the imminent ECB vice-presidency vacancy.

“If I was to begin to speculate as to who might succeed him, we’d deal a potentially fatal blow to his campaign,” the Minister said.

However, early speculation has centred around Central Bank deputy governor Sharon Donnery and Robert Watt, secretary general at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, who was pipped at the post by Prof Lane for the position in 2015.