Euro zone ministers choose Spaniard as ECB Vice President

DE GUINDOS New vice-president at European Central Bank

DE GUINDOS New vice-president at European Central Bank Shutterstock

De Guindos will succeed Portugal's Vitor Constancio when he takes over the post in May.

De Guindos is a politician's politician - at turns charming and outspoken, while also a dispenser of bon mots at global gatherings. According to Spanish daily El Mundo, he is also supported by France - a crucial backing to secure the Eurogroup's endorsement.

After listening to both candidates, MEPs from the economic and monetary affairs committee (Econ) found that Lane's performance was "more convincing".

That decision will be taken on March 22 at an EU summit after consultations with the European Parliament and the ECB's Governing Council.

"Lane has shown himself to be a distinguished and proven economist".

This evening eurozone finance ministers formally backed Mr de Guindos to succeed Vitor Constancio as European Central Bank vice president in May.

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In a tweet addressed to Centeno last week, socialist MEP Pervenche Beres, an influential member of Econ, called on the Eurogroup to "think twice about the good choice".

But those parliamentarians enjoyed a merely consultative role in the selection process, and the winds of national interest seemed to favour the Spaniard.

Weidemann was followed by Governor of the Bank of France François Villeroy de Galhau with 26 and Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Philip Lane with 23 points. ECB President Mario Draghi's term will end by late 2019.

Germany's Jens Weidmann, director of Deutsche Bundesbank since 2011, led the ranking by a large margin with 84 points.

"I have been a minister, but to be a minister is something that does not limit my ability to defend independence of the European Central Bank", de Guindos told reporters after his appointment late on Monday.

Four out of six positions within the European Central Bank executive board will have to be replaced by the end of 2019.

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