Spain's Luis de Guindos set to become the next vice president of the European Central Bank

  • The Eurogroup announced its support Monday for De Guindos' candidacy as the next vice president of the ECB.
  • Four out of six positions within the ECB executive board will have to be replaced by the end of 2019.
  • The first of these will take place on June 1, which will be the new vice president's first day on the job.

The 19 finance ministers of the euro zone are set to appoint Luis de Guindos, the Spanish economy minister, as the next vice president of the European Central Bank (ECB).

The appointment will be the first in a reshuffle in positions within the central bank that could change the course of its monetary policy.

The Eurogroup announced its support Monday afternoon for De Guindos' candidacy as the ECB's next vice president. The 19 heads of state of the euro zone are set to give final approval for the next vice president at a meeting in March.

In a statement, the Eurogroup said: "The recommendation to the European Council, composed of the heads of state and government, should be formally adopted by the Council on 20 February. On this basis, the European Council will request opinions from both the European Parliament and the Governing Council of the ECB. It is then expected to adopt its final decision at its meeting of 22-23 March."

Spain's Minister of Economy Luis de Guindos
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
Spain's Minister of Economy Luis de Guindos

De Guindos' only opponent, the Irish central bank governor Philip Lane, withdrew his candidacy to the position earlier on Monday afternoon.

Spain is therefore poised to return to the ECB's executive board after a six year-absence.

Paschal Donohoe, minister for finance of Ireland, told reporters in Brussels on Monday that it is important that there's a consensus in the Eurogroup on the appointment for ECB vice president.

"A number of weeks ago I nominated Philip Lane for the position of vice president of the European Central Bank. Today I am confirming that we will not be putting this candidacy forward for a vote this evening. We believe it is very important given how important the role is of vice president of the ECB that the decision be made in the basis of consensus," Donohoe told reporters at his arrival in Brussels on Monday.

The decision means that the next ECB president — a role that becomes vacant next year – is more likely to come from a northern European country and thus more likely to have a hawkish outlook when compared to incumbent Mario Draghi.

Four out of six positions within the ECB executive board will have to be replaced by the end of 2019. The first of these will take place on June 1, which will be the new vice president's first day on the job.