Chambers Named Irish Finance Minister With McGrath Tapped for EU

(Bloomberg) -- Irish government leaders named Jack Chambers as finance minister Tuesday to replace Michael McGrath, who has been nominated by the cabinet to serve as the country’s next European commissioner.

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Chambers, the deputy leader of the coalition party Fianna Fail, will formally be appointed Wednesday. One of his first tasks will be to complete preparation for the next budget, which is expected to be delivered in October ahead of a general election, which must be held by March 2025.

Chambers was appointed deputy leader of Fianna Fail last week and holds a junior minister position in government.

Ireland is aiming for a top portfolio in the next European Commission as McGrath is considered a heavyweight and is well regarded in European capitals.

The process of assembling the next commission has yet to begin in earnest. EU leaders are planning to discuss the bloc’s top jobs, including the next president, when they meet in Brussels later this week. Ursula von der Leyen is the front-runner to win another term in the top commission role.

Commissioners are nominated by member states and the commission president decides on their portfolios after consultations with the candidates. They also have to be approved by the European Parliament. A number of member states will be vying for top economic positions within the next commission.

McGrath has served as finance minister since 2022, and as public expenditure minister for two years prior to that. During his tenure in the Finance Ministry, he represented Ireland at the Eurogroup and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council.

McGrath oversaw the development of a sovereign wealth fund last year with the country’s budget surplus over the next 12 years.

Ireland’s current EU commissioner, Mairead McGuinness, has held the financial services portfolio since 2020.

In an interview on Sunday with the Business Post newspaper, McGrath said that he thinks the EU needs to focus on competitiveness, trade and its capital markets.

(Update with news of new finance minister from first paragraph)

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