MADRID — Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said Wednesday he was confident he will have enough support to clinch the post of European Central Bank vice president later this year.
De Guindos said that Spain needed qualified majority support in the European Council and that “both the prime minister (Mariano Rajoy) and I have gathered that support and believe that there exists a clear possibility that the Spanish candidacy will win.”
Spain nominated de Guindos on Wednesday, the final day for candidacies. The only other candidate so far is Irish Central Bank Governor Philip Lane.
De Guindos said that as a minister he has always defended the independence of the ECB and, if elected, he will continue to do so during the eight-year mandate.
De Guindos said he would resign as minister once chosen, but avoided saying what he would do if he is not picked for the job.
Spain has little heavy-weight presence in the main decision-making bodies of the European Union and has long been tipped to get the ECB vice presidency.
Portugal’s Vitor Constancio’s term in the position expires in May. The European Council will decide on his successor in late March.
De Guindos, 58, is credited with helping get Spain out of a five-year financial crisis, when unemployment peaked at 27 percent in 2013, and turning it into one of the EU’s fastest-growing economies and top job makers.
The country still has the second-highest unemployment rate — 16.5 percent — in the 28-country EU behind Greece.
De Guindos has been economy minister for Rajoy since 2011. He has held ministry positions and posts in international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. De Guindos has also worked in the private sector, including that of director for the global financial services firm Lehman Brothers in Spain and Portugal prior to the company’s collapse.