Luxembourg and Portugal have officially withdrawn their candidacy to head the European Stability Mechanism.

There will be no Luxembourgish or Portuguese representative at the head of the European Stability Mechanism, which is based in the Grand Duchy. The announcement was made on Tuesday by the Ministry of Finance.

"The Ministry of Finance informs that the candidacy of the former Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna, and that of the former Portuguese Minister of Finance, João Leão, for the position of Managing Director of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) have been withdrawn by mutual agreement", the Ministry writes.

The two candidates allegedly realised that they would not be able to gather the 80% qualified majority needed to be elected. They therefore decided to withdraw from the race in order "not to further hamper the succession of Klaus Regling", the current ESM Director.