February 27, 2018 / 12:06 PM / a year ago

European Parliament committee endorses De Guindos for ECB VP job

FILE PHOTO - Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos talks to the media during a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Parliament’s economic committee endorsed on Tuesday Spain’s Economy Minister Luis de Guindos for an eight-year term as the next vice president of the European Central Bank, succeeding Vitor Constancio at the end of May.

The committee, which has only a consultative role and cannot bloc a nomination to the ECB by euro zone finance ministers, voted 27 to 14, with 13 abstentions, in favour of De Guindos, a minister in Spain’s centre-right government.

The whole European Parliament will vote on De Guindos’ candidacy in March and the socialists have warned that they will not support it unless euro zone governments agree to discuss with them ways to “improve” the process of ECB appointments.

The socialists, the second biggest parliamentary caucus, have long called for more gender balance in the ECB, where out of six executive board members only one is a woman. They also want better safeguards against political influence - a reference to the fact that De Guindos will go to the independent ECB directly from a political role in the Spanish government.

(This version of the story corrects number of votes in favour to 27 from 24, paragraph 2)

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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