New Bank of Spain board member resigns after accusation of supporting Catalan professor and exiled minister Clara Ponsatí

  • Antonio Cabrales was appointed with the support of the PP. He resigned six hours later after a media campaign by Spanish nationalists.

15.02.2023 - 11:41
Actualització: 15.02.2023 - 11:44

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The Spanish government’s appointment of economist Professor Antonio Cabrales as a new member of the board of directors of the Spanish Central Bank (Banco de España) was followed by his resignation a few hours later.

The professor, who had been the PP’s candidate for the post, has had almost no explanation for his swift resignation. But there seems to be a political motive behind his decision. Some time ago he publicly supported the exiled minister of the Catalan government, and well-known economist Clara Ponsatí.

“I don’t want to add to the tension in the country, and it seems to me that this would add to it. We need calm,” Cabrales told the ABC newspaper. At the same time, in an attempt to distance himself from the fallout of his resignation, he has taken down his Twitter profile.

The pressure began to build in the afternoon when The Objective recalled that his name appeared alongside those of other renowned economists in a letter supporting Clara Ponsatí and Spanish nationalist media publicly questioned the appointment. In the April 2018 text, the signatories refuted judicial persecution of Catalan politics, asserting “principles of democratic and nonviolent political action” against accusations of rebellion and embezzlement.

The letter was addressed to Sally Mapstone, director of the University of St Andrews – where Ponsatí worked – and signed by prestigious Catalan economists such as Pol Antràs (Harvard), Jordi Galí (CREI) and former minister Andreu Mas-Colell (UPF). It also included international figures such as Matthew Jackson (Stanford), Antonio Nicolò (University of Padua), Ignacio Palacios-Huerta (London School of Economics), Shyam Sunder (Yale University) and Antonio Cabrales (Carlos III University).

Together with Judith Arnal, he has now been appointed by the Council of Ministers as a board member of the Banco de España. Cabrales had the support of the PP, which, according to El Mundo, emphasised his impeccable, non-partisan career, but when Ponsatí’s support became known, Cabrales took a step back.

A professor at Carlos III University, Cabrales holds a doctorate in economics from the University of California. He has been a professor and director of the Department of Economics at University College London and a professor at the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. He is also the Executive Vice President of the European Economic Association, a former President of the Spanish Economic Association and an honorary member of both of these associations.


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