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The Danish government has put forward EU competition and digital regulation commissioner Margrethe Vestager as a candidate to run the European Investment Bank.
Vestager, one of the most senior European Commission officials, had long been rumoured to be a candidate and her nomination is set to add momentum to a race that includes several high-profile names to replace Werner Hoyer, whose term is coming to an end in December.
“I am pleased that the Danish government has put forward my name to be vetted as a possible candidate for the position as president for the European Investment Bank,” Vestager said. “I confirm my availability for the assessment, awaiting the bank’s process and next steps.”
A former economy and interior minister in Denmark, Vestager has been at the helm of EU competition policy for nearly a decade and has overseen multibillion-dollar fines against Big Tech groups including Apple and Amazon. Only last week, Vestager threatened to break up Google if it continued to abuse its dominant position in its own ad marketplace.
Her head of cabinet, Kim Jørgensen, last year quit the commission to take up a position within the Luxembourg-based EIB. He is currently director-general and EIB representative to the EU institutions in Brussels.
The role of EIB president will be increasingly important as multilateral banks are called upon with more regularity to fund infrastructure projects and development related to the green transition.
The bank is the world’s largest multilateral lender, with a balance sheet of about €550bn.
But the role is one of several that will come up in the coming year.
The European Commission will have a complete overhaul of personnel following EU elections in June 2024. The EU’s top jobs are typically subject to horse-trading between member states, with many going to the EU’s largest countries — Germany and France.
The EIB declined to comment on Vestager’s nomination, saying the appointment of the next president was a matter for the bank’s shareholders, the EU’s 27 member states.
Former Italian finance minister Daniele Franco is considered to be lead candidate for the role, having been nominated by Rome earlier this month.
Other candidates publicly announced include the EIB’s Polish vice-president Teresa Czerwińska and her fellow vice-president Thomas Östros, who was nominated by Stockholm.
Spain’s deputy prime minister Nadia Calviño has said Madrid will present a candidate in due course.