EU: European ministers named Yves Mersch to the European Central Bank’s executive council after months of political wrangling.
Yves Mersch was appointed to the ECB’s day-to-day management board by the European council of government leaders late Thursday night in Brussels. The decision ended what was the longest confirmation process in the institution’s history.
Mersch (photo) had been a contender for the position since July, when the council originally nominated him. But in September the European Parliament delayed and then in October rejected his confirmation, citing the lack of women contenders.
There currently are no top female executives running the bank and the last woman on the six-member ECB executive committee was Austria’s Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, whose term ended in 2011.
The European Parliament vote was not binding on the council of ministers, but the Spanish government had objected to overriding the decision of Europe’s only directly elected governing body.
The seat on the ECB executive council had been vacant since June 1, when the term of Spain’s Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo ended. The Spanish government had wanted another Spaniard--male ECB lawyer Antonio Sainz de Vicuna--to take his place, but Mersch’s name was the one ultimately put forward as part of a grand reshuffling of top EU posts and after gaining French support.
Mersch has been both head of the Banque centrale du Luxembourg and member of the ECB’s policy-setting governing council since 1998. His qualifications for the ECB job were not put into question by either the European Parliament or by Spanish ministers.
Mersch begins his eight year term on December 15. If all current board members complete their terms, the next seat will open in 2018.