Former Portuguese Finance Minister to be candidate to head the eurozone’s bailout fund

  • ECO News
  • 2 May 2022

The deadline for submitting nominations is 6pm this Monday. The appointment will be decided at the Eurogroup meeting in June.

Portugal will suggest the name of João Leão, former Finance Minister, to lead the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the body responsible for the Eurozone Resolution Fund, a diplomat told European digital newspaper Politico, confirming the information provided on Friday by the Financial Times.

The deadline for submitting nominations ends this Monday at 6pm, and the appointment will be decided at the Eurogroup meeting in June.

Supporters of Joao Leão’s candidacy believe that the former Prime Minister has an advantage of being from a southern European Union (EU) country, while having a good track record on applying fiscal rules. João Leão, for example, managed to keep Portugal’s deficit at 2.8% of GDP in 2021, below the projected 4.3%.

According to the diplomat quoted by Politico, João Leão “has gathered the critical mass to formalize the candidature”. However, critics argue Portugal has already held the presidency of the Eurogroup.

Besides the Portuguese candidacy, Luxembourg is expected to run for the same position, with former Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna; the Netherlands, which is betting on former Secretary of State for Finance Menno Snel; and Italy, which was planning to put forward the name of Marco Buti, who was director-general for Economic and Financial Affairs at the European Commission until he was called to be chief of staff to Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, as reported by the Financial Times on Friday.