Dijsselbloem, de Guindos to Clash in Election for Eurogroup Head

Jeroen Dijsselbloem of the Netherlands will be running against Spain’s Luis de Guindos to become chairman of the group of finance ministers that are responsible for coordinating economic policies among the euro-area member states.

The election will be held on June 18 during the next Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg, according to Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher. Dijsselbloem has been Eurogroup chief since January 2013.

“There seems to be broad support,” Dijsselbloem told reporters in The Hague, according a spokesman for the Dutch Finance Ministry.

De Guindos, 55, has support from Spain’s partners and the country’s economic turnaround will be acknowledged, according to an e-mail today from a Spanish Economy Ministry official.

Spain’s economy grew at the fastest pace in seven years in the first quarter, putting it on track to outpace its euro-area neighbors after plunging into the worst economic crisis in its democratic history.

“As far as the question of the future Eurogroup head is concerned, we support the candidacy of Mr. de Guindos,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to Santiago de Compostela in August.

The popularity of the Spanish government will be tested in November this year when the kingdom is due to hold general elections. The conservatives suffered their worst result in a municipal election for 24 years in May, hurt by the emergence of alternative parties, the baggage of the crisis and multiple corruption scandals.

Dutch Elections

Reuters reported de Guindos’s bid earlier today.

“Jeroen is an excellent president of the Eurogroup and he has proven it in the way he has steered difficult, complicated debates,” including Greece, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said in May.

Dijsselbloem, 49, is seeking a second term while his Labor party has to deal with a drop in popularity in the Netherlands. If elections were held today, Labor would get only 14 out of the 150 seats in the lower house, according to the latest poll conducted by Ipsos. This compares to the 38 seats won in the elections in 2012. Next elections are due in March 2017.

Dijsselbloem said today his candidacy is fully supported by the Dutch cabinet.

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