Antonio Sáinz de Vicuña

Ralph Atkins

The battle hots up. Luxembourg has challenged Spain’s self-proclaimed right to a place in the European Central Bank’s top management team. The Grand Duchy on Friday announced it would nominate Yves Mersch, the country’s central bank governor, for the upcoming vacancy on the ECB’s six-man executive board.

As Money Supply reported earlier this week, Madrid has already nominated Antonio Sáinz de Vicuña, a Spanish ECB veteran who heads its legal department, to replace José Manuel González-Páramo, his compatriot , whose eight-year term on the executive board ends in May.

The contest may prove an unwelcome distraction as eurozone leaders seek to combat the region’s debt crisis. But this could be a battle fought at the highest level. 

Ralph Atkins

Upheaval continues at the European Central Bank. It is scarcely two months since Mario Draghi took over as president, and little more than two weeks since two other members of the six-man executive board (Germany’s Jürgen Stark and Italy’s Lorenzo Bini Smaghi) left Frankfurt. Now jostling has officially started to succeed José Manuel González-Páramo, whose eight-year term as executive board member expires in May.

Determined to secure a continued top level Spanish presence in Frankfurt, Madrid has nominated Barcelona-born Antonio Sáinz de Vicuña, an ECB veteran who heads its legal department. But it is not a foregone conclusion that he will get the job. In more northerly eurozone countries, resentment about the dominance of southern Europeans may result in an alternative candidate emerging – and another damaging political row over the central bank’s leadership.