And while the Irish government had been publicly extolling his suitability for the past few weeks, the campaign appeared either to be waged too halfheartedly, or else began too late, to dislodge the frontrunner. Madrid officials insisted that Berlin had promised them the ECB vice presidency in a previous round of horse trading, and Dublin apparently forswore its ambition for a seat at the central policy table, and surrendered to the desire for a continent-wide consensus.

And so just hours before an informal Eurogroup vote on Monday night, Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe announced he would withdraw Lane’s candidacy for the position.

While De Guindos’ views on monetary policy and easing, in particular, are perhaps less documented than those of a widely-published academic economist like Lane, he said in a recent interview that he thinks the central bank’s bond-buying policy and low interest rate environment have undoubtedly helped to drive Europe’s growth. He added that inflation will rise close to 2 percent in the near future, and insisted positive economic indicators should encourage Europe’s integration, a process he believes the ECB leadership is responsible for defending.

ECB watchers should not expect the Spaniard to diverge too strongly from the approach promoted by his likely future boss — the Italian described by a recent guest on our TV channel as “do everything possible (Mario) Draghi.” But judging by his record in bailout-rescued Spain, it is likely his political experience will color his approach to the new job, and as of now his selection seems all but guaranteed.

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