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The euro zone might have lost one of its key players thanks to the Dutch elections

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch finance minister and head of the group of euro-area finance ministers.
Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch finance minister and head of the group of euro-area finance ministers.

The euro area could be on the brink of losing one of its most important politicians following the general election in the Netherlands.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, saw his Labour Party become one of the biggest losers in the Dutch vote Wednesday, meaning that he is very unlikely to keep his current role as finance minister.

"While Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been a good finance minister – he had a pivotal role the past four years in taking some tough but necessary decisions – the chances of him returning in an upcoming cabinet are slim," Nic Vrieselaar, economist at Rabobank, told CNBC via email.

"His party, the Labour Party (PvdA) has lost more than 75 percent of support from its voters compared to the 2012 elections. It therefore seems unlikely that the PvdA will again take part in a coalition," he added.

Dijsselbloem is also the head of the Eurogroup, a meeting of all 19 finance ministers of the euro zone. He has been a loud voice in opposing a debt haircut for Greece, pushed for structural reforms in the economically troubled periphery and has been a strong supporter of further euro zone integration - including the completion of the banking union, which involves the same level of supervision for all euro banks.

However, until now, the Eurogroup president has always been a finance minister, a European official, who asked to remain anonymous due to the nature of the issue, told CNBC, putting aside the possibility of Dijsselbloem keeping the European role even outside the Dutch finance ministry.

This means that once a new government is formed in the Netherlands, which can take months, Dijsselbloem is likely to leave the seat of Eurogroup president.

"If he no longer holds the position of finance minister once a new government has been formed in the Netherlands, it will be up to the Eurogroup to decide on how to proceed," a second EU official told CNBC.

"The president of the Eurogroup is elected by a majority of the ministers of the euro zone member states. There is however no formal document laying down rules for these specific circumstances," he added.

A potential candidate for Dijsselbloem's seat is the finance minister of Spain, Luis de Guindos. He has previously run against Dijsselbloem for the presidency of the Eurogroup but it failed to gather enough support at the time.

Another name circulating in the press is Peter Kazimir, the Slovak finance minister. Also known as a hard-liner when it comes to the Greek bailout and fiscal discipline, he belongs to a center-left party, which could play in his favour.

At the moment, the heads of the European Council, European Commission and European Parliament are members of the center right and when appointing new members for key roles, past votes show that they try to get some political balance across the several institutions.

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