Elisa Ferreira, the female "reserve of the nation" of the PS. Who is Antonio Costa's choice for the European Commission? – The Economic Journal


The current deputy governor of Banco de Portugal is the most mentioned Portuguese woman for European positions, banking supervision and beyond. It was mentioned as a favorite to the leadership of the European Supervisory Mechanism; as a potential candidate to chair the Governing Board of the European Central Bank; as potential future Governor of Banco de Portugal, succeeding Carlos Costa who ends his term in July 2020; as potential future finance minister in a scenario without Mario Centeno in the Government, and is now on the list to represent Portugal in the European Commission. In addition to her long professional experience, she is also in favor of being a woman, at a time when organizations are trying to achieve greater balance in gender representation in senior bodies.

In a world increasingly subject to quota rules, socialist Elisa Ferreira emerges as the “reserve of the nation” for all top positions that require women. As is well known, central banks around the world have more men, so they are said to have strong gender inequality. The scarcity of top and female economists is cited as the reason for pointing to the list of nominating women for bank supervisory positions, and Elisa Ferreira inevitably emerges as the best-placed Portuguese for these top positions.

This 63-year-old Porto economist has extensive European experience in the most financial portfolios, having been in the development of the Banking Union as a MEP. At Banco de Portugal the economist is responsible for the Prudential Oversight Department, as well as serving as a Portuguese representative on the ECB Supervisory Board and the European Banking Authority. The important portfolio of banking supervision obliges it to travel regularly to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, where it has already established close relations.

Recently Elisa Ferreira was one of the four names nominated by Prime Minister António Costa, Ursula von der Leyen (future President of the European Commission) as European Commissioner. The Portuguese socialist economist was thus on the list of potential representatives of Portugal at the next European Commission – this morning confirmed. António Costa's proposal was also seen as a way to remove it from the range of candidates for Carlos Costa's succession, because Elisa Ferreira was appointed to the market as potential Governor of Banco de Portugal next summer 2020.

Earlier, the Bloomberg financial agency had placed it on a lot of favorites for the leadership of the Single Supervisory Mechanism – the body within the ECB responsible for European supervision – which was then held by Danièle Nouy. However, a year ago, it decided not to press ahead with an application for leadership of this ECB European Supervisory Mechanism. Personal and professional reasons led the socialist not to run for the place, showing little interest in leaving the country again.

More recently, the same Bloomberg agency has included Elisa Ferreira in a list of ten women with the right profile to aspire to the most relevant post of the European Monetary Authority, when it was not yet known that the ECB presidency was going to Christine Lagarde.

Then Marques Mendes, in his commentary on SIC, gave her as a potential leader of the finance portfolio in a future socialist government without Mario Centeno.

It is undoubtedly the most frequently mentioned Portuguese woman for top positions in key organizations in the country.

The socialist joined the central bank as administrator in 2016, already by the current Executive led by António Costa, and in 2017 became the deputy governor. The current government, as it had no opportunity to make its choice as governor of Banco de Portugal, eventually chose the people who occupy the two positions of vice governor: Luís Máximo dos Santos and Elisa Ferreira. The former MEP was then praised by former PSD President Pedro Passos Coelho for her work in building the banking union.

Elisa Ferreira represented the PS in Europe for over a decade in the European Parliament, and in 2015 was in the group of economists led by Mário Centeno who helped António Costa to elaborate the electoral program of the PS, in the elections that removes Pedro Passos Coelho, who had I won the elections from the country's leadership.

The Deputy Governor of Banco de Portugal, Elisa Ferreira, is today a member of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank, which is responsible for supervising the European financial system. Once a year, this Council holds one of its ordinary meetings in one of the 19 Member States. In May, at the invitation of the Deputy Governor, who is in charge of banking supervision, the Supervisory Board held its ordinary meeting in Lisbon for the first time.

Elisa Ferreira's curriculum includes the folder of Environment Minister António Guterres, during which she resolved dossiers linked to the metropolitan area, such as water supply. As Minister of Planning, she structured the 3rd Community Support Framework, which included “Porto 2001” and the metro. The economist was also a university professor, vice president of the Porto Industrial Association and administrator of the Serralves Foundation.

Article published in the edition of Jornal Económico of 16-08-2019



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