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Calvino picked to lead European Investment Bank, in boost for Spain

FILE PHOTO: New Global Financial Pact Summit in Paris

BRUSSELS/MADRID (Reuters) -EU finance ministers on Friday picked Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Nadia Calvino to become the next head of the European Investment Bank in a boost for Spain's clout within the bloc.

If confirmed by the EIB's board, she would start at the European Union's financial arm and world's largest public development bank on Jan. 1, the EIB said in a statement.

Europe's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said minutes earlier that she had withdrawn her candidacy.

"I am grateful and honored to get the support of my fellow finance ministers," Calvino said, adding that the EIB's role was set to grow in importance as it funded the green transition and provided financial support to rebuild Ukraine.


The 55-year-old mother of four, a staunch defender of women's rights, will replace German economist Werner Hoyer, 72, becoming the first woman and first Spaniard to lead the EIB.

Josep Borrell, another Spaniard, has been the EU's top diplomat since late 2019.

"We are convinced that Nadia Calvino has all the qualities needed to manage the world's biggest multilateral bank, channelling much-needed financing to businesses, and supporting investment to boost Europe’s competitiveness and sustainable growth," said the EIB's Belgian Chairman Vincent Van Peteghem.

Under Hoyer's stewardship since 2012, the EIB has increased its capital and lending for clean energy and security investments in Europe and financed the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

Soft-spoken and typically measured in public appearances, Calvino has been the economy minister, a post that in Spain encompasses many aspects of public finances, since June 2018, when Pedro Sanchez, a Socialist, first became prime minister.

Widely seen as a technocrat, she is a career civil servant and not a member of Sanchez's party.

Spain has put Calvino forward for several top jobs since 2019, including chair of the Eurogroup meeting of euro zone finance ministers and head of the International Monetary Fund, a position that eventually went to Bulgaria's Kristalina Georgieva.

Calvino spearheaded Spain's economic response to the pandemic with an unprecedented 200-billion euro package in 2020 and has managed the implementation of the European Union's pandemic relief package.

After holding senior posts in Spain's Economy Ministry, she went to the European Commission in 2006, and in 2014 was appointed the Commission's director-general for the budget. She has been the chair of the IMF steering committee since December 2021.

(Reporting by Charlotte Van Campenhout in Brussels, Andrei Khalip and Belen Carreno in Madrid; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)