MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday named current Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Roman Escolano as new economy minister, responsible for helping coordinating the country’s position with the European Union.
Escolano, who will replace Luis De Guindos, freshly appointed vice-president of the European Central Bank, will be tasked with acting as Spain’s economic envoy with Brussels and directing the country’s economic recovery after an economic downturn which saw unemployment soar to 27 percent.
Spain is expected to cut its public deficit to within EU guidelines of below 3 percent of gross domestic product this year after the financial crisis sent the shortfall to above 11 percent of GDP in 2011.
Escolano will also navigate pressing themes including the political crisis in Catalonia, which is pushing for secession from Spain, and Britain’s planned exit from the EU by next year.
Born in 1965 in Zaragoza, in northeastern Spain, he has been with the EIB since 2014 after heading the Spanish Official Credit Institute from 2012 to 2014. He also served as chief economic adviser to the then-Prime-Minister Jose Maria Aznar from 2000 to 2004.
Married with three children, Escolano will be expected to hold the position until at least the next general election in 2019 or 2020, when the ruling People’s Party (PP) will seek their third term in power.
Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Julien Toyer