The Euro Group is seeking the successor for Jeroen Dijsselbloem and a list of names has been parading in view of a discussion to take place on December 1st.
Dijsselbloem’s term end on January 13, his party is no longer a member of the governing coalition and he is not even a Member of Parliament. After five years at the helm of the Eurogroup, he has both friends and a few enemies, given his tendency to speak with contempt about southern members of the Eurozone. His comment in March 2017 about southern European countries spending “all the money on drinks and women” was not his first offensive comment.
Among the names circulated are Italy’s Pier Carlo Padoan, Portugal’s Mario Canteno, Slovakia’s Peter Kazimir, and Austria’s Joerg Schelling. National, economic, and political considerations will bear in.
Padoan and Canteno will be hoping for the waning but considerable support of the Social Democrats, but also Southern Europe. The old tradition of the two parties sharing top jobs in Brussels may be coming to an end as the Social Democrats are losing ground across Europe. Moreover, Portugal and Italy represent economies that remain indebted and electing a President of the Eurogroup may have political significance.
With Mario Draghi in Frankfurt and Antonio Tajani and Frederica Mogherini in Brussels, Italy is unlikely to occupy yet another top job in Brussels. Besides, Padoan’s government faces elections early in 2018 and may be facing the same challenges to his legitimacy as Dijsselbloem. These factors boost the chances of the respectable Canteno, who has covered more ground than either Italy or France when it comes to public deficit.
Slovakia will be hoping for Central European support, but will also be counting on credentials of financial orthodoxy, being the only member of the Eurozone in the Visegrad. Kazimir’s English is less than fluent, but that was not an obstacle in selecting Donald Tusk as President of the European Council. His chances may be boosted if Austria’s Joerg Schelling is not a member of the next Austrian cabinet.
The original six are always obvious candidates. Both Belgium’s Johan Van Overtveldt and Luxembourg’s Pierre Gramegna may be running if they can secure European People’s Party Support.