The German chancellor – on a trip to Santiago de Compostela in Spain – has backed the Spanish economy minister to become the next president of the Eurogroup.
Angela Merkel’s two-day visit to Galicia is partly to prepare for next weekend’s Brussels summit and coincides with the first signs of economic recovery in Spain.
It is seen as a vote of confidence in the country’s reforms and budget restraint under Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, despite an unemployment rate of 24 percent.
Spain emerged from a double-dip recession last year.
Merkel said Luis de Guindos had been “an excellent economy minister in Spain in difficult times”, in a joint appearance with Rajoy.
Whoever is chosen to head the Eurogroup – the eurozone’s finance ministers – will replace the current president Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
On Sunday Merkel and Rajoy walked six kilometres of the pilgrimage road to Compostela, the Spanish premier’s birthplace – a symbolic show of unity before the Brussels summit when some of the EU’s top jobs will be decided.