FRANKFURT (MNI) – The Spanish government has formally opposed the
nomination of Luxembourg’s Yves Mersch to the Executive Board of the
European Central Bank, MNI has learned.

The European Council, whose members are the heads of state and
government of EU countries, had given Eurozone governments until Monday
to lodge written objections to Mersch’s nomination. Spain has now filed
such an objection.

Madrid’s opposition does not mean that Mersch has no chance of
joining the ECB eventually, but at the very least his appointment will
be delayed. Eurozone leaders could still approve Mersch by qualified
majority, possibly at their next summit on November 22-23, which would
be the earliest possible date to do so.

The ECB had no comment on Spain’s objection to Mersch.

The European Parliament on October 25 voted down the proposal to
appoint Yves Mersch, the governor of Luxembourg’s central bank, in
protest over the lack of women in senior positions at EU institutions.
If Mersch does accede to the ECB board, it would mean that there would
not be a single woman on it for the next several years. The parliament
had not questioned Mersch’s qualifications.

The sixth seat of the ECB’s Executive Board has been vacant since
the mandate of Spanish board member Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo ended in
May. Euro area finance minister subsequently nominated Mersch, selecting
him over Spain’s candidate Antonio Sainz de Vicuna, who is currently
head of the legal department at the ECB.

While there is no official rule, traditionally the Eurozone’s four
largest member states – Germany, France, Italy and Spain – each had a
seat on the Executive Board. There has been some speculation that Spain
might now nominate former finance minister Elena Salgado, boosting its
chances to retain a seat on the board by nominating a woman.

–Frankfurt bureau: +49 69 720 142, email: jtreeck@mni-news.com

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