Despite the forthcoming rotation, Donohoe is to be nominated for the presidency of the Eurogroup

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is to be nominated for a second term as President of the Eurogroup, the Irish government has confirmed.

There had been some arguments in the coalition government in recent months over whether Mr Donohoe would retain the nomination for the prestigious EU title if he and colleague Michael McGrath swapped portfolios in mid-December.

As part of the coalition agreement, the roles of Taoiseach and Tanaists are set to be swapped between Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar on December 15 – halfway through the coalition’s expected term.

Although not included in the program for government, the financial records and public spending portfolio are also said to be exchanged between Mr Donohoe of Fine Gael and Mr McGrath of Fianna Fail.


Treasury Secretary Paschal Donohoe (left) and Secretary of Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath (right) (Brian Lawless/PA)

A disagreement in the coalition became apparent in September when Tanaiste Leo Varadkar suggested that Mr Donohoe should remain Ireland’s nominee for the Eurogroup role in the country’s best interest.

“Where a small country like Ireland has these key roles, I don’t think we should give them up lightly,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said that this can be done despite Mr Donohoe having the role of public spending and that it has already been done in the Eurogroup.

This angered some members of Fianna Fail, with Mr McGrath himself saying that the absence of Ireland’s finance minister from the Eurogroup would represent a “significant reduction” in the ministry.

“It would also raise a number of important questions, for example who would represent Ireland at Ecofin, which is finance ministers from across the European Union, and it would also raise questions as to who in the Dail Eireann would answer with on matters to be done European economic policy, capital markets, banking union and so on.

“It sounds tantamount to a Treasury split, which we wouldn’t agree to,” he said in September.

The members of the Eurogroup are referred to as “finance ministers” in EU law.

In a statement on Friday, the government confirmed it would nominate Mr Donohoe for a second term as Eurogroup President and would attend the Eurogroup and Ecofin summits.

“If re-elected, Minister Donohoe will assume his duties as President of the Eurogroup as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform,” the statement said.

Mr Varadkar said his party colleague’s nomination was “good news for Ireland and Europe” and wished him success in the elections.

“Paschal has done an excellent job as Finance Minister and as President of the Eurogroup.

“He has helped steer Ireland and the eurozone through a period of tremendous uncertainty, including Brexit, the war and the energy and inflation crises. Now is the time to keep a consistent captain at the helm.”

The procedure for the election will be announced at the Eurogroup meeting on November 7, the statement said. Despite the forthcoming rotation, Donohoe is to be nominated for the presidency of the Eurogroup

Fry Electronics Team

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