13th July 2024
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Spain’s Economy Minister Nadia Calviño chosen to lead EU Investment Bank

European finance ministers on Friday selcted Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister, Nadia Calviño (main image), to become the next head of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in a boost for Spain’s influence within the bloc.

The top post at the Luxembourg-based EIB attracted some of the biggest names in European politics, including the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, who had stepped down temporarily to run.

‘We’ve come to a conclusion and a consensus around the candidacy of Nadia Calviño as the next president of the EIB,’ Belgian finance minister Vincent Van Peteghem said after a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels. ‘With Nadia, we have a strong next president of the EIB,’ he added.

Vestager said minutes earlier that she had withdrawn her candidacy. There were three other candidates: Italy’s ex-finance minister Daniele Franco as well as current EIB vice presidents Teresa Czerwinska of Poland and Thomas Ostros of Sweden. Belgium led the recruitment process since the country holds the rotating presidency of the EIB’s board of governors.

If confirmed by the EIB’s board, Calviño would start at the EU’s financial arm and world’s largest public development bank on 1 January, the EIB said in a statement.

‘I am grateful and honoured to get the support of my fellow finance ministers,’ Calviño said, adding that the EIB’s role was set to grow in importance as it funded the green transition and provided financial support to rebuild Ukraine.

The 55-year-old mother of four, a staunch defender of women’s rights, will replace German economist Werner Hoyer, 72, becoming the first woman and first Spaniard to lead the EIB. Josep Borrell, another Spaniard, has been the EU’s top diplomat since late 2019.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that the appointment of Calviño was ‘wonderful news for Europe and a source of pride for Spain’.

‘She will be the first woman to preside over the EIB since its foundation,’ he posted on X (formerly Twitter). ‘A recognition of her extraordinary career, rigour and leadership of the economic policy of our country. An election that reinforces the presence and influence of Spain in international organisations.’

Under Hoyer’s stewardship since 2012, the EIB has increased its capital and lending for clean energy and security investments in Europe and financed the development of Covid-19 vaccines.

Spain has put Calviño forward for several top jobs since 2019, including chair of the Eurogroup meeting of euro zone finance ministers and head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a position that eventually went to Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva.

Calviño spearheaded Spain’s economic response to the pandemic with an unprecedented 200-billion euro package in 2020 and has managed the implementation of the European Union’s pandemic relief package.

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