Euro finance ministers welcomed Paschal Donohoe’s leadership of the 19-strong Eurogroup at the start of talks on his bid for a second term.
Elgian Finance Minister Vincent van Peteghem said he “fully supports” a second two-and-a-half-year term for Mr Donohoe and called for “stability” and “continuity” as the eurozone economy heads for recession.
He said Mr Donohoe was “the right man”. [in] the right place” since taking up the position in July 2020.
“I am also sure that he will also be a good President of the Eurogroup in the next two and a half years.
“I think it’s important that in very uncertain times like we’re having today, we have some stability, that we also have continuity in that position, and that’s why I also support his candidacy for the post of President of the Eurogroup totally second semester.”
The head of the Eurogroup has traditionally been Treasury Secretary, a post Mr Donohoe will hand over to Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath next month.
His current term expires on January 13, with a vote on a new chair scheduled for December.
Mr Donohoe said on Monday that he had “received a positive reply” from his fellow ministers to remain.
However, he has to convince his colleagues that Ireland deserves two seats at the table. He said he would “explain” to ministers today how the Ireland tag team idea would work.
Dutch Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag on Monday indicated she would support her Irish counterpart, citing “the value of continuity in times of great economic uncertainty”.
“We really appreciate the role that Paschal Donohoe has played so far and I think it’s also important that we consider the value of continuity in times of great economic uncertainty [and] potential crisis,” she told reporters in Brussels on Monday.
“As such, we value his experience and the way he fulfills his role immensely, but I won’t fast-forward on possible other discussions.”
Spain’s Economy Minister Nadia Calviño – who was one of Mr Donohoe’s rivals for the position in 2020 – said Mr Donohoe had done “a good job” so far but refused to “speculate” on events.
There is precedent for a country having two seats at the Eurogroup table: Luxembourg’s ex-Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker chaired the Eurogroup meetings, while its finance minister was also present to represent the country.
Former Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem was allowed to end the last three months of his second term as Eurogroup President, despite losing his ministerial post after the 2017 elections.
Finnish Finance Minister Annika Saarikko said on Monday she was “open” to talks about a second term for Mr Donohoe.
“I was very satisfied with Paschal’s work as President of the Eurogroup,” she said ahead of Monday’s meeting.
“He was very cooperative and a good leader of the group and when discussion is needed [when it] when it comes to the second term and the situation in Ireland, I am of course open to this discussion. But yes, I was very happy to work with him.”
Mr Donohoe officially threw his hat in the ring last week.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the move was “great news for Ireland and Europe” and “now is the time to keep a permanent captain at the helm”.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/belgium-publicly-backs-paschal-donohoes-second-term-as-eurogroup-chief-42125008.html Belgium publicly supports Paschal Donohoe’s second term as head of the Eurogroup