In a strategic move signaling continuity in economic policies, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has appointed Carlos Cuerpo as the new Economy and Trade Minister, succeeding the outgoing Nadia Calvino. Cuerpo, a 43-year-old close ally of Calvino, affirmed in his inaugural speech that his approach would align with the successful policies of his predecessor.
Calvino's departure comes on the back of Spain's impressive economic performance in 2023, boasting nearly 2.5% growth, surpassing its euro zone counterparts, and facing inflation at 3.1% in December.
Cuerpo, a seasoned civil servant with a career spanning since 2008, played a pivotal role in negotiations on the European Union's new fiscal rules during Spain's rotating presidency. In his commitment to fiscal responsibility, Cuerpo pledged to reduce Spain's debt and deficit, emphasizing the priority of adhering to the EU's fiscal rules in the coming years.
"We can't afford to fail," asserted Cuerpo, emphasizing his dedication to improving the lives of young people in Spain.
As Budget Minister Maria Jesus Montero is promoted to the position of the first deputy prime minister, Sanchez aims to fortify his government with loyalists capable of advocating for his policies in the parliament, where the Socialist Party lacks an outright majority.
Cuerpo, with a PhD in economics from the Autonomous University of Madrid and a Master's degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, brings a wealth of academic and practical knowledge to the role. His extensive experience, including working within the European Commission, positions him well to navigate the complexities of Brussels' bureaucracy.
The new minister faces the challenge of steering Spain toward fiscal targets, including narrowing the deficit to 3% in 2024 and reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio, expected to reach 106.3% in 2024. Additionally, Cuerpo will oversee the implementation of the €120 billion ($133 billion) European recovery plan in Spain and manage the effects of phasing out anti-inflationary measures.
Cuerpo's appointment concludes weeks of speculation following Calvino's assignment as the head of the European Investment Bank, ensuring a smooth transition and signaling the government's commitment to maintaining economic stability and growth.