Italy is facing a tough offer for the top job of the EU bailout fund – POLITICO

Rome is courting support for Marco Buti, a senior EU official, to head the bloc’s bailout fund once acting chief executive Klaus Regling resigns later this year, three EU officials have told POLITICO.

Buti, a working EU official who currently serves as chief of cabinet to Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, led the economic and fiscal arm of the EU executive for over a decade. He is described as highly competent and politically adept. Nobody doubts his qualifications, but his nationality can be a stumbling block.

At issue is the future leadership of the European Stability Mechanism, created in 2012 and endowed with a borrowing capacity of €500 billion to stabilize eurozone economies in distress. It has been used five times since its inception by countries virtually locked out of credit markets. Italy never reached that point, but was generally reluctant to even the idea of ​​receiving support due to the reform conditions involved.

Even when the ESM opened new lines of credit with a mix of easier conditions early in the pandemic, the Italian government at the time turned down the offer due to the fund’s stigma.

For this reason, Italy is one of two member states that have not yet ratified the ESM Treaty – the other is Germany, which is awaiting the verdict of its constitutional court.

However, under Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Rome’s opposition has weakened somewhat. His government now wants to ratify it soon, and a decree is to be discussed in the cabinet in the coming weeks, the Ministry of Finance confirmed.

But the deadline for presenting the candidates is Monday, and Rome’s efforts to garner support for its bid from other EU countries are met with resistance as some countries question the merits of appointing an Italian.

The goal is to unanimously endorse a name at the meeting of eurozone finance ministers on May 23 and confirm it in June.

At least three other countries are considering presenting their own candidates: Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal. However, no formal candidatures have yet been offered. Italy is facing a tough offer for the top job of the EU bailout fund - POLITICO

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