Almost half of MEPs vote against appointment of Spanish minister to ECB role
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has criticised the appointment of Spanish Economy Minister Luis De Guindos as the European Central Bank vice president. Carthy was speaking following a vote of the European Parliament on approving the appointment, in which more than 300 MEPs voted against the nomination.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Carthy said: "I was one of the 306 MEPs who voted against this appointment, and my objection is based on both the individual being appointed as well as the process itself.
"The European Parliament has repeatedly called on the Eurogroup to improve the extreme gender imbalance in the ECB governing council, of which currently just two out of 25 members are women. Yet the only two candidates proposed for the vice president position were men.
"And despite the fact that the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee has been requesting a hearing with the candidates to be scheduled since last November, the Council ignored this request and an informal hearing was scheduled when the majority of MEPs were at home in their constituencies. By the time a formal hearing was held, Lane had already been withdrawn as a candidate. The Parliament's rights to participate in this process have been completely ignored.
"When the two nominees – De Guindos and Philip Lane – addressed the ECON committee in an informal hearing, a clear majority of members of the committee expressed a preference for Lane over De Guindos. While I have several criticisms of the Central Bank of Ireland's actions under the leadership of Philip Lane, he has extensive central bank and public policy experience.
"De Guindos is not an economist, he is a politician with no central bank experience. He is a former investment banker who used to work at Lehman Brothers. Before becoming Spain's economy minister he was head of finance at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Madrid. As minister he has imposed harsh austerity measures on communities and public services, and has backed hawkish German positions in the Council.
"There is a clear conflict of interest in appointing a finance minister from one of the Eurozone states to such a senior role in the supposedly 'independent' ECB.
"This entire process has been deeply flawed, and the frustration with this as well as scepticism over the candidate have led to almost half of the MEPs voting against the appointment. The ECB needs fundamental reform in terms of policy and practice, but this outcome just reinforces the existing problems in the institution."
Note to editors:
The results of the vote in plenary were:
In favour - 331
Against - 306
Abstentions - 64