The battle for the top job at the European Investment Bank (EIB) is heating up, with EU’s outgoing competition chief Margrethe Vestager joining the race against Spanish Finance Minister Nadia Calviño.
The fight for the EIB role is a culmination of the long-standing tussles between France and Vestager – who blocked the planned rail merger between Siemens and Alstom against French desires for “European Champions”. France had reportedly been considering Vestager to land a different role at the bank as her second term draws to a close.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire spoke to Vestager last month and stated that she was the strongest candidate for the job. This, however, was conditional upon Calviño not putting her name in the ring. Calviño, who has the advantage of sitting on the Ecofin table, is competing with Margarita Delgado – Deputy Governor of the Bank of Spain – for the top financial positions.
There are plenty of differences in views on Industrial policy between the EIB hopefuls. A senior French official from the government said, “Vestager did everything she could to remove nuclear power from Repower EU so she did not exactly win our confidence there.” French Finance Minister also made it clear that the new head of the EIB should support nuclear energy.
Negotiations between contenders are expected to pick up this month as both parties prepare for the final decision, which is due to be made at next month gathering in Santiago de Compostela.
Though only time will tell who will be the one to succeed, the competing personalities for the EIB top spot is a testament to the importance this position holds in European politics.