Paschal Donohoe to stay Eurogroup president in ‘sensible’ arrangement

Finance minister Paschal Donohoe will remain Eurogroup president after no other minister in the Eurogroup put themselves forward for the role.

he Fine Gael minister will take over as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, despite only finance ministers being allowed to take part in the organisation.

However, the Irish Government hopes both him and the new finance minister Michael McGrath will be able to attend Eurogroup meetings when they switch ministerial portfolios next month.

Fine Gael was keen to not lose the powerful position of Minister Donohoe being Eurogroup president and he is now set to stay on for a second term unopposed.

There had been some wrangling in the coalition government in recent months over whether Mr Donohoe would retain the nomination for the prestigious EU title when he and his colleague Michael McGrath swap portfolios in mid-December.

“I think a sensible route was identified sometime back,” said Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

“Paschal has been a very effective chair of the Eurogroup, he’s very well respected across European Union finance ministers and generally in terms of his presentations to the European Union Council that I’ve been at.”

The Government will nominate Minister Paschal Donohoe for a second term as President of the Eurogroup.

As part of the coalition arrangement, the Taoiseach and Tanaiste roles are to be swapped on December 15 between Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar – halfway through the coalition’s expected time in office.

Though it is not contained in the programme for government, the finance brief and public expenditure portfolio are also to be swapped between Fine Gael’s Mr Donohoe and Fianna Fail’s Mr McGrath.

The Government was forced to clarify several weeks ago that Minister McGrath will take over as finance minister and Minister Donohoe will put himself forward for a second term as president while minister for public expenditure.

Even though only EU finance ministers attend Eurogroup meetings, there is a precedent set by former Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker who continued in the role, while his successor as Luxembourg’s finance minister also attended meetings a decade ago.