Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez nominated Nadia Calviño, his acting Deputy Prime Minister, for the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) top job.
Calviño, who is also acting Finance Minister, defended her candidacy, arguing that the process would not interfere “in the slightest” with her role in a potential new Sánchez-led government.
She made no mention of the ongoing negotiations between her Socialist Party (PSOE) and the regionalist and separatist parties from the Basque Country and Catalonia.
Calviño insisted that her nomination would give Spain “the maximum chances of success” of securing the EIB leadership and that “any other candidate would have meant a lost battle”.
The centre-right Partido Popular (PP) is criticising Sánchez’s decision to nominate her, arguing that such affairs of the state ought to be decided upon in consultation with the opposition. PP called Calviño’s candidacy a “democratic anomaly”.
Her nomination comes in the middle of Spain’s six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union and amid tense negotiations with Spain’s separatist parties.
Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s PP claims the PSOE would not get enough votes to renew Sánchez’s tenure as prime minister. The PP argues he is planning for that outcome and is thus looking to “reposition all of his ministers”.
A new Congress will be installed in less than a week from August 14. The PSOE has repeatedly called for “discrete” negotiations. On the other hand, the PP – which won the recent Spanish general election – has not ceased to rally support for a Feijóo pemiership. None of these blocs hit the 176 MP absolute majority required to rule outright, and it is still unclear if any would be able to form a minority government.
Observers have not yet discarded a possible repetition of the elections.
Should Calviño win the EIB presidency, she would become the first Spaniard and first woman to lead the Luxembourg-based institution. The other top contender for the job is Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition. One of them is set to replace the EIB’s current president Werner Hoyer.
As part of the programme of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU, the city of Santiago de Compostela will host an informal meeting of the EU finance ministers in mid-September. Analysts expect they will decide on a president for the EIB during that gathering.
It is the second time Spain, the EU’s fourth-largest economy, has put its faith in Calviño. In 2020, Sánchez nominated her to lead the Eurogroup of countries that use the Euro but that attempt failed against current Eurogroup President, Ireland’s Paschal Donohoe.