* Dijsselbloem set to replace Juncker, who is stepping down
* Euro zone finance ministers meet on Jan. 21 to decide
* Labour politician has been Dutch finance minister since
BRUSSELS, Jan 8 Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen
Dijsselbloem is likely to be named the next chairman of euro
zone finance ministers in January, taking over a key role in
managing the bloc's debt crisis, officials said on Tuesday.
The Eurogroup of finance ministers is due to decide on Jan.
21 who will succeed Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude
Juncker at the helm of the euro zone's most powerful economic
Dijsselbloem, 46, is on a tour of European capitals. On
Monday he met European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, as
well as his colleagues from Belgium and Luxembourg.
He is expected in Rome on Tuesday and Paris on Wednesday.
"It looks like it is moving in the direction of the Dutch,"
one senior euro zone policymaker said.
Dijsselbloem was appointed finance minister in the
Netherlands in November after Prime Minister Mark Rutte's
Liberal party won a general election in September and formed a
coalition with the Labour party.
Dijsselbloem has been a Labour member of parliament for most
of the past 12 years.
His appointment to chair the Eurogroup had been informally
agreed at the European Union summit in December, although
leaders left the formal decision to finance ministers, as
required by the EU treaty.
Eurogroup presidents are appointed for 2-1/2 year terms.
"This was de facto decided in the sidelines of the December
European Council and no complications have arisen since.
Dijsselbloem's super-rapid ascent shows once again that it is
all about being in the right place at the right time...," a
second euro zone official said.
The Eurogroup has been key to shaping the response of euro
zone governments to market pressure over the three years of the
sovereign debt crisis that started in Greece.
The Eurogroup decided on bailouts for Greece, Ireland and
Portugal and set up the 440 billion euro ($576 billion) EFSF
temporary bailout fund as well as the 500 billion euro ESM
The role of the Eurogroup, and that of its president, will
grow in the coming years as the euro zone heads towards more
integrated economic policymaking, budget control, debt
management and a banking union.