EU: Spain has further delayed the nomination of Yves Mersch to the European Central Bank’s executive council.
The appointment process of Yves Mersch to the ECB’s day-to-day management board has seen once more twist and turn, with Spain objecting Monday to the Luxembourg central banker’s confirmation.
“There has been, as you are perfectly aware, a vote in the European Parliament which considered, for a series of reasons, that [Mersch] was not the ideal candidate,” Luis de Guindos, the Spanish finance minister (photo, left), was quoted by AFP as saying. The news agency also reported “that Madrid thinks ‘there should be a further discussion’ among leaders on how to fill the post,” according to a Spanish diplomat.
Mersch has been a contender for the position since July, when the council of European minister 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 ECB executive committee was Austria’s Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, whose term ended in 2011.
The seat on the ECB executive council currently in question has 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.
Last month’s European Parliament vote is not binding on ministers, but ignoring it could be politically embarrassing since the parliament is the only directly elected European governing body.
Spain alone cannot block Mersch’s candidature outright, since only a majority vote is needed among European ministers. However it is now likely that the Luxembourger will not be installed--or have his nomination scrapped--until after one of the next council meetings--set for November 22 and then December 13--since such objections are generally negotiated face-to-face rather than via conference call.
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.