Paschal Donohoe: 'I am not a candidate' for top EU post

'I am not a candidate for it. My focus is on trying to get a candidate for it'
Paschal Donohoe: 'I am not a candidate' for top EU post

As President of the Eurogroup, one of Paschal Donohoe’s duties is to find a replacement for Mr Regling, whose term as managing director of the ESM expires this Friday. Picture: Collins

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has moved to kill off speculation that he is interested in a top EU post, having refused to rule himself out just 24 hours earlier.

Asked on Monday if he was interested in a post at the head of the EU bailout fund, Mr Donohoe responded by saying curtly: “no comment”.

However, he said on Tuesday in Luxembourg that he is “not a candidate” to succeed Germany’s Klaus Regling at the helm of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the €500bn bailout fund for euro countries

He said: “I am not a candidate for it. My focus is on trying to get a candidate for it.

“I’m putting a huge amount of time into trying to find somebody to do the job, who can be acceptable to other countries, but that is other people. 

"I am not a candidate. I’m the person overseeing the process to get the job done," he told the Irish Independent

As President of the Eurogroup, one of Mr Donohoe’s duties is to find a replacement for Mr Regling, whose term as managing director of the ESM expires this Friday.

The EU group of finance ministers have so far failed to elect anyone because candidates require 80% of the Eurogroup to agree, a threshold that has so far been impossible to meet.

The former finance ministers of Luxembourg and Portugal — Pierre Gramegna and Joao Leao — withdrew from the race after failing to get the requisite support in September.

Mr Donohoe said “a number” of people have since thrown their hats in the ring, adding that he hopes to "make progress” at an ESM board meeting on Thursday.

“There’s less than 19 [candidates] but more than zero,” he said.

On Monday night, Mr Donohoe said “no comment” when asked about his interest in the job, but did not categorically rule himself out.

“Now there are a number of people considering their prospects with regard to the job, and in my answer last night, I was trying to avoid going down the chain of questioning regarding, ‘What about xyz? What about the different people?’ 

I have to be respectful to the good names and reputations of other people who may put their name forward. It’s my job to deliver a good process. I’m not in it. That’s where my focus is.

Mr Donohoe’s future has been the source of considerable speculation given his time in the Department of Finance is coming to an end in December and his future as Eurogroup President is in doubt.

Fianna Fáil has insisted that it will take over in the Department of Finance with Michael McGrath most likely to succeed Mr Donohoe.

The Government changeover is to happen on December 15.

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