Sam Boal

Paschal Donohoe asks Eurogroup members to re-elect him as president

He is bidding for another term despite plans for the Cabinet reshuffle to take him out of the Finance portfolio.

MINISTER FOR FINANCE Paschal Donohoe has pledged to strengthen coordination between eurozone countries on combatting inflation if elected for a second term as President of the Eurogroup.

The minister, who has held the top role on the committee since July 2020, is bidding for another term despite plans for the Cabinet reshuffle to take him out of the Finance portfolio.

Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath is due to swap roles with Donohoe on 17 December alongside the rotation of the Taoiseach position between Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar.

McGrath would attend Eurogroup meetings as Finance Minister but Donohoe could continue to preside over the group if he is re-elected. 

The arrangement came after weeks of speculation as to how the Government parties would balance the reshuffle with the desire to maintain Ireland’s role at the head of the Eurogroup.

In a letter of motivation submitted to the General Secretariat of the EU Council and addressed to colleagues on the group, Donohoe said that he aims to “chair our meetings professionally and develop a responsive agenda to ensure timely, relevant, political discussions, and the efficient use of your time”.

He said his work during his first term was “against a backdrop of a complex and challenging external environment, firstly due to the unprecedented public health and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and then, as our economies began to recover, from Russia’s horrific and illegal war in Ukraine this year – which we are united in condemning in the strongest of terms”.

“Our coordinated, supportive fiscal stance in response to Covid was vital in protecting European jobs and income, and helping citizens and businesses deal with the economic and financial effects of the pandemic. As President, I have made the case for the euro area’s economic recovery, rebutting the underperformance narrative of early 2021.”

He wrote that “since autumn 2021, the Eurogroup has been at the forefront in both assessing and analysing the impact of higher energy prices and inflation on the euro area economy”.

“We have worked to coordinate our actions, between national policies across member states, and between fiscal and monetary policies, to ensure both are effective and do not add to the inflationary pressures. Now we must have greater ambition; my first priority, if re-elected, is to strengthen this coordination.

“Should you entrust me with the honour of a second term as President of Eurogroup, I will build upon our work together to deliver tangible action and results, which are in the best interests of Europe and our citizens.”

The vote to appoint the new president is due to take place at a Eurogroup meeting on 5 December.

The president is elected by a simple majority of at least 10 votes.

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