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Juncker re-appointed as Eurogroup president

By Jim Brunsden  -  18.01.2010 / 23:50 CET
Luxembourg's prime minister announces creation of Eurogroup secretariat.

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Fact file
Eurozone finance ministers postponed a decision on who should replace Lucas Papademos as vice-president of the European Central Bank.

There are three candidates in the frame to replace the Greek, whose eight-year term expires on 31 May. They are Peter Praet, the director of the National Bank of Belgium, Yves Mersch, the governor of the Bank of Luxembourg, and Vítor Constâncio, the governor of the Bank of Portugal.

All three candidates have been put forward by their respective governments, which are lobbying for support from other member states. They were heard by the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee on Thursday (14 January), which said all three possessed the necessary qualifications and experience to be an ECB vice-president.

Juncker said that ministers had delayed the decision because of uncertainty over voting procedures. He hinted at fears that no one candidate would get qualified majority from the Eurogroup, leading to deadlock.

“There are three candidates, we have never had that in the past,” Juncker said. “We can't rule out a situation where two candidates have exactly the same number of votes,” he added. He said that ministers had requested the Council's legal service to give an opinion on the matter.

Papademos's replacement must be agreed by qualified majority vote of eurozone heads of state and government. Finance ministers want to reach an agreement that would then be rubber stamped at a forthcoming meeting of the European Council.

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