What is the Eurogroup and what is its main mission?
It is an informal body in which the finance and economy ministers of the member states of the euro area examine issues linked to the common responsibilities of their respective countries in relation to the euro. This body meets once a month to discuss issues related to the euro. Its main mission is to ensure close coordination between the economic policies of the countries.
Why is the office of president important?
On paper, it looks like a post without much shine, but it doesn’t. It is a very relevant position because, from it, economic policies are coordinated. The real influence goes much further because it can take on the role of mediator and consensus-hunter, since it is not easy at all to put 19 ministers of economy in agreement with totally different views and political cultures.
What could the presidency mean for Spain?
Despite the fact that the President of the Eurogroup does not have the power to veto or impose any decision, he does have a lot of influence on the decisions made in the euro zone, especially now that the recovery fund and the multi-annual budgets are being negotiated 2020 -2027. In addition, the position grants visibility and the ability to guide and prioritize the topics on the table.
Why would it have been an advantage for Spain?
The Eurogroup has launched a triple safety net – aimed at companies, workers and countries that have been affected by the coronavirus – with an amount of 540,000 million euros, of which 240,000 will go to defray healthcare costs through from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) fund. It is precisely on this last point, in the event that a country decides to request a bailout where the Eurogroup has the last word on its conditionality. And Spain is negotiating that bailout now.
Why did Sánchez want the presidency for Calviño?
Above all, to manage the rescue conditionalities from within and lead a greater integration of the countries of the south with those of the north, which would give a more relevant role to Spain.