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María Jesús Valdemoros Erro, Professor of department of Economics of the University of Navarra

A minister for Europe

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 16:49:00 +0000 Published in Iberian Press

Román Escolano has finally been chosen by the Spanish Prime Minister to replace Luis de Guindos as Minister of Economics. He is a civil service professional with a strong technical background profile , which is not at all surprising in a change that has sought to distance itself from any possible government reshuffle or political turnaround.

The new minister, moreover, responds to the characteristics underlined by the outgoing minister, who had stated that the person occupying his post should "perfectly understand the approaches in Brussels, that decisions are taken by consensus and that we are living in a moment that is not bad and that we must take advantage of it for the proper functioning of the euro zone". The career of Román Escolano, until now Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, fits in with this European and pro-European profile .

In this regard, it is important to bear in mind the challenges that the Minister of Economics will face. Undoubtedly, on the one hand, he will have to deal with the problems of the Spanish Economics which, in spite of its growth and the fiscal deficit reduction, continues to be weighed down by the consequences of the crisis in terms of public debt, unemployment and falling wages. However, without losing sight of the previous ones, with which they are closely related, the problems facing the European Union and the euro zone will be even greater.

In the short and medium term deadline, Europe will have to deal in the coming months with the final settlement of the Brexit conditions, whose negotiations continue to drag on with growing tensions, both between the European Union and the United Kingdom, as well as between different political positions in the United Kingdom. Likewise, Europe will have to make decisions on how to deal with the tariff policies of the United States, which have the appearance of a trade war due to Donald Trump's declarations. A worrying topic , as a confrontation between these two giants of world trade could put the brakes on the recovery that has been so hard to consolidate.

With its sights set on a longer deadline , the European Union is currently engaged in an exciting, albeit risky, future project , as the results of the recent Italian elections have shown. The crisis has brought to light the flaws in Europe's institutional fabric, especially the single currency. With economic recovery underway, it is now time to deepen and deepen institutional reforms that will make the euro more solid. These reforms will require consensus, negotiating skills and a will for unity. They will also, of course, require concessions and sacrifices. In all of this, after the exit of the United Kingdom, Spain will play a greater role (to some extent, the appointment of Luis de Guindos as Vice-President of the ECB is part of this logic). Román Escolano will be one of the visible faces in this scenario. We can only wish him success, for the good of all Spaniards and the rest of Europeans.