Eurogroup president Paschal Donohoe may be obliged to leave his post after just one term due to an agreement with his coalition partners in Ireland.
The Irish finance minister is due to swap his role with his Fianna Fail colleague Michael McGrath, who currently holds the position of Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
The change of positions is part of the deal negotiated when Fine Gael and Fianna Fail and the Green Party entered coalition together in 2020.
Several diplomats have said there isn’t an appetite for an election of another Eurogroup president in the midst of the crisis. They say consistency is essential given the pace required to make decisions.
There is a possibility that the issue can be resolved if Donohoe and McGrath make the swap as agreed, but Donohoe remains as Eurogroup president.
Although he’ll no longer be finance minister, he will be moved to a role within finance, which should be sufficient to stay on in the position.
For instance, Nadia Calvino, Spain’s representative in the Eurogroup is not the direct finance minister, but Minister for the Economy.
She was a candidate for Eurogroup president in 2020 but was defeated by Donohoe.
“At the moment, this is not a major discussion for the Eurogroup, but my feeling is that nobody would appreciate an election in January as it would distract from the important ongoing issues. Continuity is important, so I wouldn’t see it as a problem for the Eurogroup if Mr Donohue is in a finance role of sorts,” a diplomat told Euronews.
Some other Brussels sources said they would be surprised if Ireland relinquished such an influential role at a time when hugely consequential economic decisions will be made in the coming months and years.
“Ireland either wants a seat at the table at the G7, or it doesn’t. There are major decisions coming down the tracks, and as a small country it would be unfathomable to walk away from such a role,” a source told Euronews.
The question is whether McGrath would be willing to give up the opportunity of representing his country in Eurogroup and Eco-fin in order to facilitate his coalition colleague.
This remains to be seen. The two parties are fiercely competitive and McGrath may consider participation in Brussels as a central part of his role as finance minister.