June 10, 2020 / 9:09 AM / a month ago

Spain says would be 'good news' if Economy Minister Calvino became Eurogroup chief

FILE PHOTO: Spain's Economy Minister Nadia Calvino attends an European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium December 5, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

MADRID (Reuters) - The Spanish government started lobbying on Wednesday for Economy Minister Nadia Calvino to take the presidency of the Eurogroup, with a minister saying “it would be good news” if she were to replace Mario Centeno, who is stepping down.

Portuguese Finance Minister Centeno said on Tuesday that he would not seek a second 2.5-year term as chairman of the euro zone finance ministers. Spain has long had an eye on that job and officials in Brussels have said Calvino is among the favourites.

“I think the presidency of the Eurogroup is very relevant,” Spain’s Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva told Spanish broadcaster TVE.

The new leader of the 19 euro zone finance ministers is to be chosen on July 9th.

Calvino has been economy minister since June 2018. She is also deputy prime minister in the cabinet led by Pedro Sanchez. If appointed Eurogroup chair, she would be the first woman to lead the group.

But with Spain also said to be eyeing the leadership of the World Trade Organisation for Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Madrid may have to choose between which post it wants to lobby for most, all the more so as it already has a top EU job with Josep Borrell as the bloc’s foreign policy chief.

Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Ingrid Melander

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