Brussels, 9 July 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe was elected president of the influential Eurogroup on Thursday.
In the second election round, a majority of finance ministers of the 19 euro countries voted for Donohoe in a video conference on Thursday to become Portuguese Mario Centeno’s successor.
“I am deeply honored to be elected as the new President of the Eurogroup,” he wrote on Twitter. “I look forward to working with all of my Eurogroup colleagues in the years ahead to ensure a fair and inclusive recovery for all as we meet the challenges ahead with determination.”
Although specific election results have not been publicly announced, Donohoe must have secured at least 10 of the 19 votes in the final vote, according to election rules.
The first election round had remained inconclusive.
With his victory, Donohoe beats out Luxembourg’s Pierre Gramegna and Spain’s Nadia Calvino.
The 45-year-old politician is a member of the liberal-conservative party Fine Gael and has been serving as Ireland’s finance minister since June 2017. Donohoe previously held other influential positions, such as minister for transport and for European affairs.
But his future stood on uncertain ground when Ireland was locked into months of political stalemate about the formation of a government.
His party only recently agreed on a coalition deal with another liberal-conservative party, Fianna Fail, and the Green Party.
Donohoe’s application to become the next Eurogroup president might also be an indication that he will also remain finance minister.
Born in Dublin, the father of two graduated from Trinity College Dublin in politics and economics.
In his cover letter, he pledges to be “a strong pro-European voice” in the Eurogroup‘s discussions, both internally and with its external partners. He said he will also “act as a bridge-builder.”
During the European debt crisis starting from 2009, his country was dependent on the help of its eurozone partners. “This has given me an understanding of the importance of solidarity, and also the concerns and challenges facing partners around the table,” he wrote.
Donohoe takes over the presidency of the Eurogroup during a challenging time, with a European Commission forecast predicting the eurozone economy to contract by 8.7 per cent in 2020.
Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission vice president, congratulated Donohoe on Twitter.
“You are taking over as ship captain in stormy conditions but I am convinced that under your skilful stewardship, the Eurogroup will deliver and take the quick and decisive actions we need at this time,” Dombrovskis said.
Donohoe will take up duties on Monday and will serve for two-and-a-half years.