The challenge for the EIB between Vestager and Franco and the case of the US economist at the Competition DG -

The challenge for the EIB between Vestager and Franco and the case of the US economist at the Competition DG -

From our correspondent
BRUSSELS - The chances of Daniel Francoformer Minister of the Economy in the Draghi government, former State General Accountant and general manager of Bankitalia, to be appointed president of the European Investment Bank (Bei). The mandate of the president, the German Werner Hoyer, ends at the end of December but already at the informal Ecofin in September in Santiago de Compostela the EU finance ministers could make the decision to then formalize it at Ecofin in October. In addition to Franco, there are also the vice president of the European Commission and owner of the EU Antitrust Margrethe Vestager and two vice presidents of the EIB, the Swede Thomas stros and the Polish Teresa Czerwinska. Vestager a name of weight but could play against the appointment of the US Fiona Scott Morton as chief economist of the DG Competition. The Yale professor has decided to give up the job after the heated controversy of recent days.

Vestager announced Wednesday morning that he had received a letter in which Fiona Scott Morton said she has decided not to take on the job of chief competition economist: Given the political controversy that has arisen due to the selection of a non-European to fill this position, and the importance that the general management has the full support of the European Union in its action - wrote the Yale economist - I have decided that the best course of action is to retire and not take the position of chief economist. Vestager accepted his decision with regret and full respect for his integrity. On Tuesday it was French President Emmanuel Macron who publicly criticized the appointment. But doubts related to his nationality had also been raised by European Parliament. On Tuesday Vestager had defended his choice before the Economic Affairs Committee of the EU Parliament, explaining that it was a good thing to arrive at the European Commission with the experience that Scott Morton has, who knows our system of competition perfectly. For Vestager, it is questionable to believe that nationality automatically implies a prejudice in favor of companies in the country of which one is a national.

All the parliamentary groups had raised clear opposition to the appointment and some deputies asked for its withdrawal due to the risk of conflicts of interest, taking into account that Scott Marton had consultancy relationships with important companies (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Sanofi, Pfizer ), but in reality she would not have dealt with those dossiers precisely to avoid irregularities. Limited cases according to Vestager. Doubts about the appointment were also expressed by some EU Commissioners: Josep Borrell (Spain), Thierry Breton (France), Elisa Ferreira (Portugal), Paolo Gentiloni (Italy) and Nicolas Schmit (Luxembourg) sent a letter to President Ursula von der Leyen— he reports Politic — to ask her to reconsider the choice. Now there is no more need because the economist has retired.

It is a question of understanding whether what happened could in some way have damaged the trust between Vestager and some Member States. The EIB is the largest multilateral lender in the world, with a balance sheet of around 550 billion and will play an increasing role not only in financing the green transition but also in the reconstruction of Ukraine. His guidance is highly coveted. Franco an important candidacy, which enjoys good press with Berlin. a technician with a strict image, who gets along well with German Finance Minister Christian Lindner. However, many say that this time the presidency should go to a woman and this plays against Franco. Vestager is a strong candidate but represents Northern Europe. And after 12 years with a German president, the hypothesis of a/a representative of the south began to make headway. Franco could break the North/North solidarity and now Vestager's move could increase the number of Franco's supporters.

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