Paschal Donohoe “not a candidate” for the top post at the EU bailout fund

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has ruled himself out of the running for a post at the top of the euro bailout fund.

After pleading “no comment” on the issue Monday night, he told the Irish Independent on Tuesday that he is “not a candidate” to succeed German Klaus Regling at the helm of the European Stability Mechanism, the €500 billion bailout fund for euro area countries.

“I’m not a candidate for it,” he said on the sidelines of a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg. “I’m concentrating on finding a candidate for it.

“I invest a lot of time trying to find someone to do the work that can be acceptable to other countries, but these are different people. I am not a candidate. I am the person overseeing the process to get the job done.”

As head of the Eurogroup of 19 finance ministers, Mr Donohoe is responsible for finding a replacement for Mr Regling, whose tenure as executive director of the ESM expires on Friday.

He has held this position since the ESM was founded in 2012. The institution is the successor to the temporary bailout fund that Ireland drew on in 2010.

But finance ministers are struggling to elect anyone because candidates need 80 percent of the Eurogroup to agree, a threshold hitherto impossible to reach.

Last month, former finance ministers of Luxembourg and Portugal – Pierre Gramegna and Joao Leao – withdrew from the race after failing to receive the support they needed.

Mr Donohoe said “a number” of people have since thrown their hats in the ring, adding that he hopes to “make progress” at an ESM board meeting on Thursday.

“It’s less than 19 [candidates] but more than zero,” he said.

On Monday night, Mr Donohoe said “no comment” when asked about his interest in the job, but didn’t categorically rule himself out.

“Now there are a number of people who are considering their prospects for the job, and in my response last night I tried to avoid going down the chain of questions, ‘What about xyz? What about the different people?’ I must respect the good name and reputation of other people who might put their name forward.

“My job is to deliver a good process. I am not there. That is my focus.”

Speculation about Mr Donohoe possibly taking on the role follows a simmering row in the coalition over whether to retain his title as President of the Eurogroup of Finance Ministers, whose meeting he chairs once a month.

This position is traditionally given to an acting finance minister.

However, the Eurogroup’s first permanent president, Jean-Claude Juncker, held the post of finance minister, while his colleagues – Luc Frieden and eventual ESM candidate Pierre Gramegna – attended its meetings as his finance ministers.

Mr Donohoe has refused to stoke the fire of speculation about whether he will be allowed to do the same after December’s coalition reshuffle.

“This is a matter that the party leadership will decide on when the time is right. I fully respect that and will not contribute to the speculation as to what might be.” Paschal Donohoe “not a candidate” for the top post at the EU bailout fund

Fry Electronics Team

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