(Bloomberg) -- Italy is set to back Margrethe Vestager of Denmark for president of the European Investment Bank if its candidate Daniele Franco won’t be successful, according to people familiar with the matter.

Vestager stepped aside in September as the European Union’s digital chief to pursue the EIB post, while Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calvino has been seen as the frontrunner. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz publicly backed Calvino earlier this month.

That leaves France in a key position to help sway the outcome of the contest, which has been going on for months. 

Along with Calvino, Vestager and Franco, two senior EIB officials — Teresa Czerwinska of Poland and Thomas Ostros of Sweden — are also in the running. Franco is a former finance minister of Italy. 

A decision is expected by year’s end as the position becomes open in January. EU finance ministers could take a decision as early as next week. 

Belgian Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem said last month that the views of the biggest EU member states will be key in determining who gets the job.

To become head of the EIB — the world’s biggest multilateral lender — a candidate must garner the backing of 18 member states, representing at least 68% of the share capital. The EIB is currently led by Werner Hoyer, a member of Germany’s pro-business Liberal Democratic Party. 

Italy’s Finance Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti reiterated on Monday that Italy still officially backs Franco, a government official said.

--With assistance from Samuel Stolton.

(Adds comment from government official in last paragraph)

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