Vincent van Peteghem endorses Nadia Calviño as EIB chief

Belgian Finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem, who is leading the search for the new president of the European Investment Bank (EIB), has written a letter asking his colleagues to support Spanish Economy minister Nadia Calviño. Van Peteghem chooses her over Danish EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, the other favourite for the job.

The EIB is the world's largest multilateral financial institution, with the 27 EU countries as shareholders. A candidate needs eighteen votes, representing 68% of the EIB's capital, so support from the biggest shareholders - France, Germany and Italy - is crucial.

Calviño is up against Vestager and candidates from Italy, Poland and Sweden. Calviño and Vestager quickly emerged as the two favourites for the EIB presidency. But despite months of talks, the member states are still too divided to choose.

French outrage

Earlier this summer, Vestager sparked outrage in France by choosing the American Fiona Scott Morton over a European as Chief Competition Economist at the Directorate-General for Competition. Scott Morton rejected the position due to the fallout.

France thus prefers the Spanish minister. And, according to EU diplomats, Van Peteghem's letter is an attempt to finally break the deadlock. "He seems to be betting that some of the smaller member states that are in favour of Vestager are not 'tough' enough to come out and say they don't want Calviño," one diplomat told Reuters.

The issue will be discussed on Friday 8 December, when the 27 European finance ministers meet in Brussels for their monthly consultations.


Spain's Economy minister Nadia Calviño. © JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

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