Jeroen Dijsselbloem, whose Dutch labour party suffered a crushing defeat in last week’s elections, has suggested he could continue in his role as the eurozone’s chief political dealmaker until the end of the year.
Mr Dijsselbloem’s mandate as president of the Eurogroup – a key Brussels policymaking role – lasts until January 2018, and he said today that it could take until then for a new Dutch government to be formed.
“The formation of a new coalition government in the Netherlands might take some months,” Mr Dijsselbloem told reporters ahead of a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Monday.
“Whether there is a gap between the arrival of a new minister and the end of my mandate it is too early to say,” he said, as he will stay on as caretaker finance minister in the Netherlands in the interim.
Mr Dijsselbloem’s European colleagues have stressed they want him to continue as Eurogroup president as long as he remains Dutch finance minister.
If he is replaced as minister before his Eurogroup mandate ends, it will be up to eurozone ministers to decide what to do. It is something Mr Dijsselbloem “will discuss with ministers in the coming months”, he said.
Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s economics commissioner, said his Dutch counterpart had proven to be an “extremely competent” chair of the ministers but the issue of his continuation would not be discussed by ministers at today’s meeting.
“This question is not the agenda today, it will be dealt with at the right moment”, said Mr Moscovici.
Michel Sapin, France’s finance minister said he believed Mr Dijsselbloem would still be in the post at finance ministers next meeting in April:
Mr Dijsselbloem is president of the Eurogroup, he will be president this time, and also in future.
Mr Dijsselbloem is a very good president of the Eurogroup, he is president today and I think he will be president of the next one. We work with him and it works
Mujtaba Rahman at Eurasia group said: “Whether Mr Dijsselbloem stays or goes does not really matter as the cold truth is Berlin largely determines where the Eurogroup ultimately shakes out on questions of eurozone economic policy. His role and influence have been greatly over exaggerated.”
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