Britain’s recently re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron is set to appoint one of the top European bankers as the chief external economic advisor to the government, according to reports from across the continent.
Ana Botin, the CEO of the Santander Group which took over Britain’s Abbey National bank in 2004, has long been a favourite of Mr Cameron, having been made a financial ambassador for Britain during his first time in 2013.
Botin will be the only foreign-born representative on Mr Cameron’s economic advisory council, which also includes the Chief Executive of British Petroleum, and the CEO of the U.S.-owned supermarket chain Asda.
The appointments will do nothing to allay concerns that Mr Cameron is surrounding himself with big corporate interests, ahead of a European referendum, and in advance of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal between the EU and the United States.
And Botin isn’t the biggest fan of Britain, either.
In 2013, she said: “I get the sense that the British do not like to look at things on the bright side of life… Maybe it has something to do with the weather.” This was in addition to her comments in 2012 after the London Olympics, during which she said, “[The United Kingdom won] a gold medal for grumbling… I suspect this may reflect something buried deep in the British psyche.”
Botin is not a new appointment to the Prime Minister’s advisory team, though she both continues in her proximity to Mr Cameron, and switches her focus from being part of the Financial Services board, to one on the more influential Economic Advisory Board.
Mr Cameron was criticised in 2013 for lifting part of a speech from Ms Botin, that she had made just two weeks before him.
Botin recently spoke at the European Union conference entitled, “Finance for Growth – Towards a Capital Markets Union” where she spoke in favour of introducing more “private public partnerships”, otherwise known as corporatism.